SEA Fisheries ProjectThe SEA Fisheries Project aims to reduce trafficking and labour exploitation in fisheries by strengthening coordination at the national and regional levels. The project is regional in nature, with a particular focus on Indonesia and Thailand. The project works in three key areas:
- To establish a Regional Coordination Body, which will support existing national bodies in order improve coordination in combating trafficking in the fisheries sector.
- To coordinate strategies and to support the adoption of result-oriented and gender-responsive regional action plans that enhance complementarity and efficiency of various initiatives ongoing to combat trafficking in the fisheries sector.
- To commission and conduct independent research, and to provide a platform for knowledge sharing and enhancing communication.
Research rationaleOne of the outcomes of the Tripartite Meeting on Issues Relating to Migrant Fishers (TMIMF) held in September 2017 in Geneva was a call to effectively address the serious violations of the rights of migrant fishers, and to enforce their fundamental rights at work and access to justice –irrespective of their migrant status. In particular, the draft Conclusion from the TMIMF highlighted the need to clarify the division of roles and responsibilities for enforcement, compliance, and inspection between flag States, port States, coastal States, and labour-sending States.
While States have put great efforts into the ratification and implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC 2006), the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188) has not benefited from the same attention and energy with respect to government efforts towards its ratification and implementation. In Southeast Asia, six States have ratified MLC 2006, including Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. By contrast, no State in the region has ratified C188 nor Protocol of 29, 2014 to the ILO Forced Labour Convention (C029).
At the same time, the traditional analytical framework for human trafficking does not fit easily with the jurisdictional complexities of trafficking in fisheries. While global trafficking flows are often described in the context of “source,” or “destination” countries, these territorial concepts are not fully aligned with the jurisdictional divisions in relation to at-sea responsibilities between flag States, port States, coastal States.
Research in ManilaTo support the ratification of C188 and P029 in Southeast Asia, ILO is conducting a study that will assess the national regulatory framework on labour protections in fisheries in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines in terms of its jurisdiction and responsibilities under the laws of the sea as a flag State, port State, coastal State, as well as a source State for migrant labour.
In each of the three countries subject to this study, there have already been efforts underway to assess the compliance of national laws and regulatory frameworks with C188 and P029. In early 2017, ILO published two Situation and Gap Analysis Reports on ILO C188 and P029 in relation to the fishing and seafood processing industries in Thailand. In the Philippines, the Institute for Labour Studies published a Gap Analysis of C188 in 2015. However, there is no assessment in relation to P029 and the fishing sector there. In Indonesia, there is an unpublished gaps analysis on C188.
The researcher has been asked to conduct a desk review of existing literature on C188 and P029 gaps analysis in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.
In addition, the researcher has been asked to undertake fieldwork in Manila on 22-23 February 2018 to convene focus group discussions (FGDs) to supplement existing literature on C188 and to assessment compliance of P029 in practice. It is expected that FGDs will be convened with ILO’s tripartite partners and will cover subjects including:
- On labour protection, inspection and enforcement issues
- On vessel and fisheries regulation and enforcement issues;
- On coordination of responses to forced labour and trafficking issues.