Here's some images from a recent overnight shoot aboard a fishing trawler in the Gulf of Thailand for The Freedom Fund, the world's first private donor fund dedicated to identifying and investing in the most effective front-line efforts to end slavery. Thailand is the world’s third largest seafood exporter, reaping over $7 billion in revenues a year. But the profitable industry supplying Americans and Europeans with cheap seafood comes at a high cost to both the environment and to hundreds of thousands of migrant workers. Overfishing and illegal and unregulated fishing has led to the depletion of resources pushing fishing efforts further off-shore and compromising the sustainability of environmental resources. The increased effort for reduced catch as a result of overfishing drives up costs, incentivising the use of forced labour.
The fishing and seafood labour force in Thailand is by a large majority composed of migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. Labour brokers recruit from vulnerable communities, promising favourable employment in the construction, manufacturing, or agriculture industries. Migrants often incur debt from labour brokers, costs associated with transportation and securing employment in Thailand. This ‘debt’ is often transferred by labour brokers to owners of seafood processing factories or fishing boats, resulting in bonded labour.