The Walk Free Foundation is undertaking research to provide global analysis of the scope and scale of slavery in the fisheries sector.
Businesses have shown increasing willingness and interest in responding to slavery in their supply chains. In 2017, the Walk Free Foundation commenced research to generate data on products of slavery. Its first initiative is research with the Oceans Institute at the University of Western Australia.
The fishing industry is one of the largest contributors to the continued exploitation of workers and many innocent people across the world have become the victims of forced bondage aboard fishing fleets after being subjected to threats and other forms of coercion. Due to the vastness of the oceans, this issue is typically difficult to address and the lack of accountability means the continued exploitation of workers.
A largely hidden workforce, media reports and research have confirmed that vulnerable migrants are being lured onto vessels with the promise of good conditions and generous pay only to find themselves forced to work long hours and unable to leave.
The victims receive little or no pay, are forced to remain at sea for extended periods of time, and are under the constant threat of violence. The seafood they catch feeds into the supply chains of large, international corporations.
By drawing on global research, the Walk Free Foundation will be able to identify to which areas resources should be allocated to eradicate labour exploitation at sea while also providing information on the effectiveness of the current government response.