Human Trafficking, Forced Labour and Fisheries Crime in the Indonesian Fishing Industry

International Organization for Migration, Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University

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    In 2015 the mass rescue of foreign fishers trafficked for labour exploitation on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing vessels in Benjina and Ambon highlighted the lack of adequate policing of the fishing industry and a lack of scrutiny of working conditions on vessels and in fish processing plants. The case highlighted the expansive nature of this transnational criminal venture. Victims were recruited from numerous countries and forced to work illegally within Indonesia. National laws and regulations were breached and international conventions ignored. Front companies were established and illegally caught fish transshipped in the Indonesian EEZ and boundary areas, thus preventing interception by the Indonesian authorities. Ultimately the catch entered the global supply chain and was handled by legitimate suppliers of fish, unaware of its provenance and the human toll behind the catch. The situation in Benjina and Ambon is symptomatic of a much broader and insidious trade in people, not only in the Indonesian and Thai fishing industries, but indeed globally. This research provides a glimpse into a far-reaching and well-entrenched criminal industry operating alongside the legitimate fishing industry, and often overlapping. The situation represents the spread of transnational organized crime at sea and the threat it poses as a maritime security threat to nations, and a human security threat to fishers, seafarers and fishing communities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationJakarta, Indonesia
    PublisherInternational Organization for Migration
    Number of pages148
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Maritime Security
    • Illegal Fishing
    • forced labour
    • Human Trafficking
    • Indonesia
    • Fisheries Crime


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