More than 100 people have been reportedly arrested in a crackdown on abuses in Thailand’s multi-billion dollar seafood industry.
Last April the European Union threatened to boycott the industry unless it tackled illegal fishing and allegations of human trafficking.
On Monday, February 1 2015, police said a taskforce set up since had investigated 36 cases and rescued 130 trafficking victims.
Well, Thailand is known as the world’s third largest exporter of seafood.
Human rights groups have long highlighted abuses in the Thai industry, saying it is reliant on illegal fishing practices and overfishing, and involves trafficked workers from neighbouring countries who, they say, work in conditions akin to slavery.
Deputy National Police Chief Thammasak Witcharaya said that in the 16 months prior to the task force being set up only 15 cases were investigated, insisting that the crackdown had intensified.
He however added that nearly all of the 102 suspects arrested were prosecuted while 36 were sent to prison.
According to the BBC, the problems in Thailand’s seafood industry are complex and will not be solved quickly even with determined government effort.
There is the challenge of properly licensing thousands of fishing boats and reducing the fleet to a more sustainable size and also of regulating a fragmented processing industry, one of the world’s biggest, where endemic labour abuses exist.