Government pledges a better deal for fishermen

The Labour Ministry is taking steps to provide better protection for commercial fishermen, especially migrant workers in the industry.

Anusorn Kraiwatnusorn, an assistant to the labour minister, said efforts are being made to ensure trawlers are subject to systematic labour inspections. The move is designed to address allegations of human trafficking within the fishing industry.

International labour and human rights groups have long accused Thailand of tolerating slave labour, especially in the fishing sector, and called for a shake-up of its labour practices.

Inspectors will assess living and working conditions on fishing boats, wage rates, and interview employees about their environment and workloads.

The Social Development and Human Security Ministry, the Labour Ministry's Employment Department, the Department of Special Investigation and the Royal Thai Navy have all been brought in to address the issue, Mr Anusorn said.

A campaign will be launched next month in Nakhon Si Thammarat and Songkhla provinces, he said.

"The inspections will be carried out by staff from the agencies involved. There is also a plan to appoint police as official inspectors," he said.

Sompong Sakaew, director of the Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation, said Thailand needs to make a greater effort to clear itself of the human trafficking allegations.

The necessary measures include registering workers, inspecting contracts and strictly enforcing the law, he said.

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Writer: Penchan Charoensuthipan
Position: Reporter