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Report to Congress: Human Trafficking in the Seafood Supply Chain
December 31, 2020

Report to Congress: Human Trafficking in the Seafood Supply Chain 

Section 3563 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (P.L. 116-92)

The People’s Republic of China

The PRC is a significant offender in the use of forced labor in their fishing sector, with numerous reports known on Chinese-flagged and -owned vessels throughout the world. China has the largest fishing fleet in the world and contains a wide variety of vessels that operate on the high seas and in foreign countries’ EEZs throughout the world. The majority of the crews on board are migrant workers from Indonesia and the Philippines but have also been noted from Africa and other Asian countries. According to the media, governmental and non-governmental reports, there have been numerous incidents of forced labor reported on Chinese fishing vessels. Workers report excessive working hours, poor living conditions, isolation at sea for months to years, verbal and physical abuse, nonpayment of wages, document retention, and debt bondage. Deaths have occurred as the result of abuse on these vessels. Workers are sometimes recruited by agencies that use deceptive tactics regarding their wages and contracts, and they are often required to pay recruitment fees and sign debt contracts. The Chinese fishing fleet is a major player in global IUU fishing; crewmembers forced to engage in IUU activities on board these vessels are also at high risk of undue penalization. Fishing observers report insufficient oversight of the PRC’s fishing industry, which leaves fishers at increased risk of forced labor.

View the full Joint Report to Congress here: https://china.usembassy-china.org.cn/wp-content/uploads/sites/252/DOSNOAAReport_HumanTrafficking.pdf (PDF 784 KB)