152 years ago on December 18, 1865, human slavery was abolished in the United States, after the most brutal war in American history. The Amendment freed millions of slaves and ended the saddest chapter in American history, however it did not end slavery. That continues today around the world and is why December 2, is International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
Here is what we know:
- Over 40 million people are enslaved in some form either in forced labor or marriage.
- That means 5.4 victims for every 1000 people in the world.
- 1 in 4 victims of slavery are children.
- 16 million of the nearly 25 million people trapped in forced labor are in the private sectors of domestic work, construction, fishing or agriculture.
- 4.8 million people are sexually exploited, 99% of them are women and girls
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has adopted a new protocol that strengthens the global effort to abolish forced labor. The legally binding protocol went into force in November of 2016 and the ILO is campaigning to persuade a minimum of 50 countries to ratify the Forced Labor Protocl by 2018. Join with tens of thousands of others and sign the 50 for Freedom petition. See Action for all Blue Ocean petitions.
The Outlaw Ocean
Ian Urbina is an award winning investigative journalist with the New York Times and a member of your Blue Ocean community. In 2015 Urbina authored a series called “The Outlaw Ocean” which focused the world’s attention on the lawless state of the high seas. Gathering data from Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia, Ian documented the crimes of murder, sea slavery, illegal fishing, gun running, and the abandonment of crews.
The publication of Urbina’s series resulted in swift governmental action. The U.S. Congress joined with President Obama and NOAA to create oversight of labor conditions aboard fishing boats and to establish a mechanism for tracing imported seafood. Thailand was the first country to fall afoul of these new regulations, being given the lowest grade on human trafficking.
See the Entire Outlaw Ocean Series
View Ian Urbina’s entire Outlaw Ocean series as published in the New York Times. Be prepared for some heart stopping and eye opening information.
For his outstanding journalistic efforts Ian Urbina was awarded the 2015 Benchley Award for Policy.
Leonardo DiCaprio to Produce Action-Thriller “The Outlaw Ocean”
Based on the reporting of Ian Urbina, Dicaprio’s film will dramatize the true story of a Sea Shepherd crew that for 110 days shadowed an illegal fishing ship. The Thunder was considered the world’s most notorious poacher until it was abandoned off the coast of West Africa. (photo – Sea Shepherd)
From Fishing to People Trafficking in Thailand!
A Guardian investigation has linked Thailand’s fishing industry with the vast transnational trafficking syndicates profiting from the misery of some of the most persecuted people on Earth.
Sold to the Sea: Human Trafficking in Thailand’s Fishing Industry
Thailand’s fishing industry is the world’s third largest, however a labor shortage is primarily being filled by migrants from Cambodia and Myanmar. Most of the by-product and forage fish caught by Thai fishing boats is destined for the Songkla Canning Public Company, a subsidiary of Thailand’s largest seafood company, Thai Union Frozen Products.
In 2016, more than 28 million pounds of seafood totaling $190 million, was shipped by Thai Union to the U.S. where it was processed into cat and dog food sold to American companies with familiar household names like Iams, Meow Mix and Fancy Feast.
Human Slavery Serves Up Pet Food
Fish for pet food is one of Thailand’s fastest growing exports, more than doubling since 2009 and the United States is Thai Union’s largest customer. America loves it cats and each lucky feline gets to gorge on about 30 pounds of fish each year, that’s twice the amount of fish that is consumed by a typical American (whatever that is). So it appears that cats and fat cats are benefiting from a Thai fishing industry that enslaves workers, there’s something very fishy here!
Food for thought and a very hearty thank you to Ian Urbina for bringing this very important issue to the world’s attention and to Leonardo DiCaprio for helping to spread the word.
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network
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