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Third World Sailors 'Treated Like Slaves'

Author: Reuters, in The East African [Kenya], Published on: 12 March 2001

Tens of thousands of sailors on commercial ships are being treated like slaves and live in fear of being thrown overboard if they complain about exploitation and mistreatment, says a report by an independent industry body. The report "Ships, Slaves and Competition", found that on 10 to 15 per cent of vessels, sailors from developing countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia were being subjected to poor safety conditions, excessive hours, unpaid wages, starvation diets, rapes and beatings. The report said crews told stories of sailors disappearing after complaining to officers and of being blacklisted if they dared to seek union help to collect unpaid wages.

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