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Trapped at sea. Using the legal and regulatory framework to combat trafficking at sea.

Once again, we welcome Rebecca Surtees from the NEXUS InstituteThis post is adapted from “Trapped at sea. Using the Legal and Regulatory Framework to Prevent and Combat the Trafficking of Seafarers and Fishers”, published in 2013 in the Groningen Journal of International Law. Vol. 1, No. 2: Human Trafficking. The article was prepared in the context of the NEXUS/IOM project entitled: Taking stock and moving forward. Considering methods, ethics and approaches in trafficking research and data collection, funded by U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP). The original article is also available at www.NEXUSInstitute.net and www.WarnathGroup.com.

Recognition of the diversity of trafficking for forced labour in recent years has included increased attention to exploitation within the seafaring and commercial fishing industries. It is clear, based upon our research, not only that human trafficking takes place, but that such cases are aided by sector-specific aspects that heighten levels of risk and vulnerability for seafarers and fishers that may lend themselves to abuses, such as isolation at sea, lax regulation, oversight and enforcement, and limited contact with authorities on land and at sea.   (more…)

Syndicated: organized crime and human trafficking

The mere mention of human trafficking gangs suggests a seedy, clandestine underbelly of organized international criminal syndicates focused on profiting from the exploitation of vulnerable individuals. The terms “gang”, “syndicate” and “organized crime group” are bandied about the anti-trafficking world on a regular basis as descriptors for those who undertake, facilitate and/or enable exploitation. But when interrogated, the terms become slightly opaque, perhaps challenging perceptions about the actors complicit in human trafficking. (more…)

Signing on the dotted line: examining operational indicators of trafficking. Part 1: Contract Abuse

Our first guest post comes from John Gee, Immediate Past President of TWC2, an organisation committed to the provision of fair treatment to migrant workers in Singapore.  He has researched and authored a number of key reports on migrant worker issues, including the problems faced in accessing justice.  His two-part post for TTRP provides a robust analysis of contract issues.  Often an opaque and misunderstood process, the implications for migrant workers can be serious.  

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Hidden out on the big blue sea: trafficked fisherman

Trafficked fisherman – it sounds an unlikely situation doesn’t it?  Fishing conjures up images of retired men perched on riverbanks armed with their lunch in a little box and a flask of tea, or small scale rural fishermen, bobbing along in wooden boats on a tropical ocean.  However, the global demand for cheap fish has to be satiated somehow and one method of keeping costs low is the use of exploited and trafficked labour.  Global demand for affordable seafood is not the only reason for the prevalence of trafficked fisherman.  For instance, according to a key report by the International Organisation for Migration, in Thailand, the impact of Typhoon Gay in 1989 led to the abandonment of the sector by Thai fisherman and the destruction of a large number of boats, which resulted in a labour shortage now filled by fishermen from Cambodia and Myanmar.  Whatever its origins, the trafficking of men, and sometimes boys, for the purpose of labour exploitation at sea is a growing reality in Southeast Asia. (more…)