Washington International Law Journal


Migrant fishermen are left out. Both Thailand’s labor trafficking laws and anti-trafficking measures espoused by international bodies fail to effectively protect men coerced into working in Thailand’s fishing industry. Thailand is a prominent destination for human trafficking victims because of the country’s economic, social, and political conditions. The majority of trafficking victims identified within Thailand are migrants from Thailand’s neighbors—predominantly Myanmar (Burma)—who often escape from conditions of poverty or political persecution. Because of a high demand for Thai fish products and labor shortages in the fishing industry, the commercial fishing industry is a hotbed for labor trafficking. The Government of Thailand, as a response to international pressure, increased regulatory efforts to address the experiences male labor trafficking victims face. However, these efforts neglect an essential component: how the effects of over-fishing on the nature of the fishing industry both perpetuate trafficking and thwart well-meaning reforms. Environmental mainstreaming, or the process of infusing environmental policies into traditionally non-environmental programs, would buoy current regulatory efforts and may contribute to the development of stronger, more realistic labor trafficking laws.

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