FLAVORS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Men Enslaved in Cages May Have Caught the Shrimp at Your Supermarket
PHOTO: Bankok Post- Slave-labour fish mixes in with Thai catch ( (c) Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved.)
A few years ago, a friend promised Asorasak Thama a job in the Thai fishing industry. The job offered good pay for a few weeks of work.
Instead, he wound up trapped at sea for a year, working in terrible conditions for no pay at all. Thama had become a slave.
Authorities rescued Thama and his crewmembers when they stopped the boat he was trapped on for fishing illegally in Indonesian waters. A few years later, however — after a stranger drugged him at a bar in southern Thailand — Thama found himself enslaved again.
When his boat came into shore to get a fishing license from Malaysia, he waited until the captain had had a few drinks, then punched him and fled.
Some of the seafood that winds up in American grocery stores, in restaurants, even in cat food may have been caught by Burmese slaves. That’s the conclusion of a yearlong investigation by The Associated Press.
The AP discovered and interviewed dozens of men being held against their will on Benjina, a remote Indonesian island, which serves as the base for a trawler fleet that fishes in the area.