Tuesday, September 13, 2016
“The state ignores the squalor on these fishing boats”
As the AP report discovered, slavery is not limited to far off waters. In Hawaii, the majority of the fishing fleet is made up of undocumented workers, many of whom were taken against their will from their Southeast Asian homelands. The state ignores the squalor on these fishing boats, which often lack a toilet and may barely feed the men. As long as the workers don’t set foot on shore, no laws are being broken. Trapped on board, the workers watch crowds walk past on docks in Honolulu and San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf.
by Larry Geller
Asked why no one in Hawaii had done anything to intervene, [reporter Margie Mason] said that people told her, “‘Hey it’s legal.’ That’s what we heard over and over again. Customs is involved. Coast guard is involved. Because it was legal, no one challenged it.”
[thefern.org, When fishermen are slaves, labor audits mean nothing, 9/13/2016]
The story continues to echo in the media, with no action so far to change conditions on these ships or to compensate fishermen for the fair wages they did not receive.