A survey of Basic Labour Rights among Migrants Working in Thailand’s Fishing Sector.
By CSO Coalition for Ethical and Sustainable Seafood in Thailand
About the CSO Coalition
The Civil Society Organisation Coalition for Ethical and Sustainable Seafood (“CSO Coalition”) was established in 2016. It consists of national and international CSOs working to address human rights and environmental issues in the Thai seafood sector. The CSO Coalition aims to promote and empower national CSOs in Thailand to build their organisational capacities (staff, research and public advocacy capabilities) and to hold the government and private sector to account for enforcing changes made to the legal and regulatory frameworks that govern the seafood sector. The CSO Coalition focuses on coordinating data, information and networks from each member organisation to help strategise around advocacy and produce policy-oriented, evidence-based recommendations aimed at the Thai government and the private sector.
Coalition’s mission is to:
- Eradicate modern-day slavery and Illegal, Unregulated
and Unreported Fishing (IUU) from Thai seafood
- Promote sustainable fishing in Thai waters.
Current national members of the CSO Coalition include:
- Labour Rights Promotion Network (LPN)
- Stella Maris Seafarers’ Centre
- Migrant Workers Rights Network (MWRN)
- Foundation for Education and Development (FED)
- Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF)
- Raks Thai Foundation
- Thai Sea Watch Association (TSWA)
- Association of Thai Fisherfolks Federation (ATFF)
- Andaman Foundation
- Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF)
Thailand’s fishing industry has been subject to mounting scrutiny in recent years. Concerns highlighted by a diverse range of governmental, non-governmental and industry stakeholders have focused on issues of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and human rights abuses, including forced labour and trafficking in persons, especially of migrants from neighbouring countries working in the sector.
The Thai seafood sector provides employment to over 600,000 people – about half of whom are migrant workers. Migrants, predominantly from Myanmar and Cambodia, are employed throughout the Thai seafood supply chain: on fishing boats, in ports and processing facilities, on farms, and in a range of ancillary industries. Seafood is widely consumed domestically, and Thailand is a major global exporter of fish and seafood products. In 2017, the country exported 1.1 million metric tonnes of seafood worth USD 5.9 billion to world markets, making up 2.5 percent of the total value of Thailand’s exports that year.
In recent years, and partly in response to international concerns, the Royal Thai Government has undertaken extensive reform of the fishing sector: issuing laws and regulations, establishing new inspection frameworks and reducing the number of undocumented migrant workers in the sector, among other measures. Partner organisations from the CSO Coalition have been on the frontline of implementation efforts. This has allowed the CSO Coalition to monitor their impact on migrant workers from communities across Thailand.