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21 Jul 2017

Associated Press (USA)

USA: Abuses against migrant workers on Hawaii fishing fleet - NGO takes US Govt. before Inter-American Commission

Claims of human rights abuses in Hawaii fleet

Turtle Island Restoration Network told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it filed [a] complaint last week with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. The filing [joined by Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery and Ocean Defenders Alliance] asks the panel to determine the responsibility of the U.S. for human rights abuses against foreign workers in Hawaii's longline fishing fleet. An Associated Press investigation into the seafood industry revealed that hundreds of men are confined to Hawaii boats that operate due to a federal loophole that exempts the foreign fishermen from most basic labor protections. Many come from impoverished Southeast Asian and Pacific nations to take the jobs, which can pay as little as 70 cents an hour... 

Two Hawaii lawmakers introduced measures to create more oversight, but they failed... "The lobby was out full force to kill this bill, just as I expected," said state Rep. Kaniela Ing, who introduced one of the measures. "...there's very few advocacy organizations for these sorts of migrant workers, so their voice is not as loud as the moneyed lobby behind the longline guys."

[press release by Turtle Island Restoration Network]