Monday, September 19, 2016


Complaint details widespread violations of labor laws that protect foreign fishermen docking in Hawaii

by Larry Geller

Note: This is a re-post of an article originally posted several days ago which included a file that was not properly redacted. The solution: the document included below is the first 11 pages of the full 71-page document. What is omitted is 60 pages of of fishing license detail and other supportive material that isn’t really necessary to understand the complaint.

Media reports on human trafficking in Hawaii’s longline fishing industry have rested on the observation that working conditions have been permitted due to a “loophole” in federal regulations.

A complaint, filed with Hawaii’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, details violations, cites applicable laws, and names names.

The complaint is quite detailed and includes attachments—a total of 71 pages.

The complaint is meticulous in its references to specific sections of state law, for which there is no "loophole,"

Here is an example of the precision which characterizes this complaint--a snip pinpointing an applicable section of Hawaii wage law:

We believe that the Wage Standards Division has jurisdiction over these matters. State wage laws which provide workers with more protections do not conflict and are not preempted by federal law or maritime law for workers that work within the territorial waters of a state or the high seas adjacent to the state's coast. See Pacific Merchant Shipping Ass'n v. Aubry, 918 F.2d 1409 (9th Cir.1990), cert. denied, 504 U.S. 979 (1992).

The complaint details failures of recordkeeping, failure to post notices, and improper wage withholding practices, among other violations too numerous to list here.

Download 20160919 Complaint to DLIR re slave ships - minus attachments from Disappeared News


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