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Patima Called to Japan for Support in Combating Modern Slavery in Fishing Industry

In a recent press conference held by the Japan National Press Club, Patima Tungpuchaykul, from the Labor Protection Network Foundation, brought to light the dire situation of modern slavery in the fishing industry across Southeast Asia. The conference delved into the lives of over three thousand sailors stranded in Indonesia and the rescue of others from dire conditions in Thailand, marking a decade-long battle against oppression in the seafood export sector.

Thailand's seafood industry, once a leading exporter, has undergone significant scrutiny and reform aimed at eliminating illegal fishing and human trafficking. Despite these efforts, the struggle continues with issues such as drug abuse among crews to prolong work hours, challenges in victim identification due to violence and addiction, and a lack of safety measures for those at sea.

Patima's heartfelt plea emphasized the global impact of seafood consumption on labor abuses. One poignant quote from her speech captures the essence of the crisis:

"I didn’t want to hear the last thing the crew kept saying to me, 'My life is cheaper than the fish that people buy and eat'."

This stark revelation calls for a united front in demanding ethical practices within the seafood industry, urging consumers worldwide to be mindful of the origins of their seafood purchases.

The call to action reinforces the urgent need for ongoing vigilance and international cooperation to protect the rights and dignity of those vulnerable to exploitation in the fishing industry. The goal is to foster a future where sustainable and ethical practices are the norm, ensuring the welfare of workers and the long-term sustainability of seafood resources.

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