Spain Addresses Human Trafficking in the Fishing Industry13 June 2013
SPAIN - The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) has launched its report 'Sold to the Sea' in Madrid, Spain. The launch was hosted by the Spanish Secretary General of the Sea, Carlos Dominguez, who welcomed the report and called for all stakeholders in the fisheries sector to work together to address human trafficking and human rights abuses on fishing boats.
In presenting the report, EJF campaigner Andy Hickman, said the organisation had evidence of fisheries products from boats involved in human trafficking entering the EU market and welcomed Spanish leadership to highlight this issue.
"We have chosen Spain as a platform to present this report, because as a fishing nation, it has a unique understanding of this sector, and the dangers faced by workers," said Mr Hickman.
Jose Manuel Trujillo, President of the Fisheries Section of the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF), said the International Labour Organization Working in Fishing Convention (Convention No. 188) was important in stopping human trafficking and 'slavery' on fishing vessels. He called on Spain to show leadership by ratifying the Work in Fishing Convention as soon as possible.
Joaquin Nieto, Director of the ILO in Spain, agreed that the Work in Fishing Convention was a crucial tool in fighting human trafficking, but highlighted that there were a number of existing international laws that could be used to fight this problem.
"Unfortunately, we are seeing a lack of implementation of existing laws by some countries," said Joaquin Nieto.
Javier Garat, President of Europeche, said that the EJF report highlighted a clear case of "social dumping." He called on the European Commission to ensure that labour standards and human right
violations were raised in the context of free trade negotiations with Thailand, and said Europeche strong supported the ratification of the ILO Work in Fishing Convention by EU Member States and non-EU countries alike.
Following the press conference in Madrid, EJF renewed its call for the international community to take action to bring an end to the devastating practice of human trafficking in the fishing industry.
EJF Executive Director Steve Trent said: "The thousands of trafficking victims currently plying the seas in South East Asia and other parts of the world urgently need our assistance. Without more pressure from Governments, the seafood industry and consumers, we will continue to see routine violence and murder, such as that documented in EJF's Sold to the Sea report. It is deplorable that modern-day slavery of this kind continues to exist. It is continuing to cast a shadow over the
whole seafood industry."
EJF's full Sold to the Sea report is available at http://www.ejfoundation.org/node/663
TheFishSite News Desk