By N24 Correspondent, WASHINGTON:- To address human trafficking, including forced labor in the seafood sector, the Department of State and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have submitted a joint report to Congress on “Human Trafficking in the Seafood Supply Chain.”
According to a statement of the DOS office of the spokesperson, the report was submitted pursuant to Section 3563 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (P.L. 116-92) and that the report lists countries at risk for having human trafficking in their seafood catching and processing industries and provides detailed descriptions, risk assessments and the recommendations.
“The fishing sector has inherently high risk for human trafficking. The work is considered hazardous and often relies heavily on a low-skilled, migrant, easily replaced workforce, vulnerable to trafficking. Fishing is also inherently isolating, with vessels sometimes spending months to years at sea, which impedes individuals’ escape from or reporting of abuse,” said the statement.
“Emotional and physical abuse, sometimes resulting in death; excessive overtime; poor living conditions; deceptive or coercive recruiting practices; and lack or underpayment of wages are examples of the abuses sustained by human trafficking victims in the fishing sector.”
“Countries with weak legal protections for civil liberties and workers’ rights; high levels of corruption, crime, violence, political instability, poverty; and immigration policies that limit employment options or movement are at an increased risk for human trafficking. Illicit recruiters, unscrupulous vessel captains, and human traffickers exploit such conditions to perpetrate fraud, deception, and violence.”
The DOS report further noted that combating human trafficking, including forced labor, on fishing vessels is an important human rights issue and a U.S. foreign policy priority. “This report signifies an important step in enhancing and coordinating the United States’ efforts to combat human trafficking in the seafood sector,” the statement further said.