Govt sincerity on migrant rights faces fishing pact test

Govt sincerity on migrant rights faces fishing pact test

It has been one year since Thailand's last debacle on migrant worker policy. Yet, Thailand finds itself once again at the crossroads where domestic constituents are debating whether to advance the protection of migrant workers in the fishery sector.

Thailand is the world's third-largest seafood exporter. An international storm of criticism in the past few years has scrutinised exploitative labour practices in Thailand that make fishery workers, mostly migrants from neighbouring countries, vulnerable to human trafficking, forced labour and debt bondage.

In 2014, the US State Department singled out Thailand for being among the worst offenders. Four years later, the US continues to highlight, "Trafficking in the fishing industry remains a significant concern", and Thailand investigated "significantly fewer cases" of labour trafficking in the fishing sector -- seven cases in 2017 compared to 46 in 2016.

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