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26 Mar 2015

Indonesia: Burmese workers in slave-like conditions to catch seafood supplying US businesses

In March 2015 an Associated Press investigation uncovered slavery-like practices in Indonesia’s fisheries, where hundreds of migrant workers, mostly from Myanmar – were kept in cages, forced to work and often beaten and tortured. The fish and seafood they catch is then transported to Thailand and via Thai companies is supplied to US businesses, including restaurants, major supermarkets and retailers, and pet shop. The report includes statements by US and Thai companies involved.

After the surfacing of the report, the Indonesia government rescued hundreds of workers and in April launched an investigation into fishing company Pusaka Benjina Resources. The company admitted the maltreatment of workers, but denied accusations that the workers were not paid and were held in cages. The police found that over 1,400 crewmembers were forced to work.