Over 100 arrested in fishing industry crackdown in Thailand

An anti-trafficking task force focussed on the fishing industry in Thailand has arrested 102 human traffickers since it was established in May 2014, an official said Tuesday. 

The task force was created after the European Union and media reports raised concerns over forced labour on fishing boats in Thailand. 

"In that time we have also rescued 130 trafficking victims," Deputy Police Chief Thammasak Witcharaya told dpa by phone. "Thirty Myanmar victims of forced labour were rescued in the past week from Phuket." 

The increase in arrests and rescue operations, Thammasak said, showed that Thailand was committed to fighting trafficking. 

"Prior to the establishment of the taskforce there were only 15 investigations into trafficking operations," he said. 

Thailand received a "yellow card" warning from the European Union last year over its fishing industry.

Investigations conducted by EU officials and media outlets found instances of human trafficking and illegal and unregulated fishing. 

Thailand is the world's third-largest seafood exporter. European countries are a major market for Thai fish products, although these are mostly farmed prawns or processed fish which have little direct connection to fishing at sea.

Last update: Tue, 02/02/2016 - 12:20

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