The Fishers’ Rights Network was recently chosen as Vice Chair of the Steering Committee for the ILO SEA Forum for Fishers, a South East Asian regional body that aims to eradicate human trafficking and labour exploitation in the fisheries sector.
The Southeast Asian Forum to End Trafficking in Persons and Forced Labour of Fishers (“The SEA Forum for Fishers”) is the new multi-stakeholder regional coordination body established to improve coordination in combating trafficking in persons, forced labour, and modern slavery at sea. The Forum is a non-binding voluntary multi-stakeholder initiative to strengthen coordination among the members through an integrated, holistic, human rights-based and action-led approach.
International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) fisheries affiliates from several countries in the region are represented on all five working groups, and are seeking to influence governments, industry players and other important non-government organisations and civil society organisation stakeholders to generate effective policies and procedures which protects all fishers rights, including migrant fishers.
The objectives of the SEA Forum for Fishers are:
- to promote and facilitate collaboration, social dialogue, good industrial relations, sustainable economic development, decent work and social protection in the fishing and seafood sector;
- to eliminate trafficking in persons in Southeast Asian fisheries by strengthening coordination and increasing the efficiency and efficacy of the efforts already underway at the national and regional levels;
- to promote human rights, fundamental principles and rights at work, and other relevant international labour standards for fishers and migrant fishers in Southeast Asia;
- to strengthen cooperation between members from labour-sending states, transit states, and labour-receiving states, port states, and flag states on labour migration governance to facilitate safe, regular and orderly migration;
- to develop regional protocols and a clear division of responsibilities to strengthen exercise of the respective jurisdiction of flag states, port states and labour-sending states, particularly in relation to inspections of vessels, interventions, identification of victims and victim assistance;
- to develop regional protocols for improved data collection and sharing, to share best practices and information between members.