Omfattande slaveri inom indonesiskt fiske

I fisket i Indonesien har det avslöjats ett omfattande slaveri där en stor del av de som arbetar på fiskebåtarna har kidnappats eller lurats till att ta arbeta på fiskebåtar i Indonesien. Många av de som arbetar med fiske i Indonesien sålts till de thailändska ägarna av fiskebåtarna och arbetar som slavar utan egentliga löner och utan några som helst rättigheter. Ägarna till båtarna är ofta thailändska och det är i Thailand fisken bearbetas och så småningom till viss del hamnar på västvärldens fiskdiskar:

The men the AP interviewed on Benjina were mostly from Myanmar, also known as Burma, one of the poorest countries in the world. They were brought to Indonesia through Thailand and forced to fish. Their catch was then shipped back to Thailand, where it entered the global stream of commerce.

Tainted fish can wind up in the supply chains of some of America’s major grocery stores, such as Kroger, Albertsons and Safeway; the nation’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart; and the biggest food distributor, Sysco. It can find its way into the supply chains of some of the most popular brands of canned pet food, including Fancy Feast, Meow Mix and Iams. It can turn up as calamari at fine dining restaurants, as imitation crab in a California sushi roll or as packages of frozen snapper relabeled with store brands that land on our dinner tables.

In a year-long investigation, the AP talked to more than 40 current and former slaves in Benjina. The AP documented the journey of a single large shipment of slave-caught seafood from the Indonesian village, tracking it by satellite to a gritty Thai harbor. Upon its arrival, AP journalists followed trucks that loaded and drove the seafood over four nights to dozens of factories, cold storage plants and the country’s biggest fish market.

The tainted seafood mixes in with other fish at a number of sites in Thailand, including processing plants. U.S. Customs records show that several of those Thai factories ship to America. They also sell to Europe and Asia, but the AP traced shipments to the U.S., where trade records are public.

Flertalet av de som arbetar som slavar på fiskebåtar kommer från Myanmar (Burma) och är offer för trafficking. En del har dessutom strandsatts av fiskeriföretagen på avlägsna öar i Indonesien:

IOM is in discussion with Indonesian authorities to help locate an estimated 4,000 fishermen stranded on some of the country’s remotest islands. The majority of these have been abandoned by unscrupulous fishing-boat operators following a Government moratorium on the renewal of old licenses as well as issuance of new ones.

The expired and non-renewed licenses on ships already in the region are factors causing the vessels to dump their crews and abandon them on these islands. The moratorium is an attempt to limit or eliminate the presence of illegal foreign boats fishing Indonesia’s rich waters.  The government estimates illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing (so-called IUU fishing) costs Indonesia up to USD 25 billion per year and is conducted in one of the poorest regions of the country.

An unknown number—which IOM believes is a large majority—of the men working in this manner are victims of trafficking, mainly from Myanmar. IOM, along with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, is preparing for a visit to the fishing grounds, notably to the island of Benjina in Maluku province off the south coast of West Papua.

“We note the positive outcome of the moratorium on the IUU fishing which the government has put in place,” said Steve Hamilton, Deputy Chief of Mission, IOM Indonesia. “It does mean that a very large number of men have been stranded in less than ideal conditions. But for the first time in possibly several years their feet are touching dry land and there is a real possibility for them to go home, once we and the authorities can locate and process them.”

Att de blivit strandade beror alltså delvis på att många av de oseriösa företag som använder sig av slavarbetskraft förbjudits att fiska i Indonesien som en del av landets kamp mot IUU-fiske.

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