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Building More Effective Enforcement in Thai Fishing

Labour inspectors share challenges and successful stories, best practices on interview techniques to conduct effective inspections, and tools that can help labour inspectors identify forced labour violations.

Date issued: 08 October 2019 |
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Following global exposes of “seafood slavery” in the Thai fishing industry and the EU issuing a “yellow card” to Thailand for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), the Thai government established over 30 Port in/Port out (PIPO) Control Centers in 22 coastal provinces to conduct labour inspection on fishing vessels and at ports. The inspection effort is a collaboration between multiple government agencies including the Thai Ministry of Labour, Royal Thai Navy, Department of Fisheries, amongst others, and the labour inspection is headed by the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, Ministry of Labour.

Thailand was the first country in Asia to ratify the ILO Work in Fishing Convention (C188) and is now making changes to the Thai law to meet the terms of the Convention. Following the ratification, the EU decided to lift the yellow card and now Thailand will have to focus more on effective enforcement. New labour inspectors have been hired and trained on new tools to address problems in the Thai fishing industry, including forced labour. This film reflects the lessons learned and the challenges faced by fishers, employers, and their regulators in the Ministry in an attempt to end serious labour abuses in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.

“We want equality for all workers, regardless of their nationality; to be treated equally with human dignity, have the same rights and freedoms under the law,” says LCDR Jakkrit Hongsa, Chief of PIPO Control Center, Prachuap Khirikhan province.

ILO played a critical role in developing a new training programme with the Ministry for over 180 new labour inspectors working in fishing. The training and tools reinforce their inspection skills, knowledge about workers’ rights, changes to Thai law including the new forced labour prohibition, and core health and safety issues. This film was created as tool for use in training of new inspectors.

“The training’s emphasis was on improving the capacity of labour inspectors. We learned how to conduct in-depth interviews, and how to inform workers of their rights according to the law, as they might not know their rights,” says Samorn Kumviriya, Labour Officer, Provincial Labour Protection and Welfare Office, Songkhla.

The film includes interviews with the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, a Royal Thai Navy chief inspector from a PIPO in Prachuap Khirikhan province, and labour inspectors operating at the ports. The labour inspectors share challenges and successful stories, best practices on interview techniques to conduct effective inspections, and tools that can help labour inspectors identify forced labour violations.

For more information please contact:

Mr Vasu Thirasak
National Project Coordinator
thirasak@iloguest.org