Magazine Extras (Fall 2015)
Supplements to the article “Casting a Tight Net.”
How can a relatively small organization make a sizeable impact on a vast and complex global problem? In 2008, a foundation called Humanity United (HU) decided to confront the scourge of human trafficking and other forms of modern slavery. Eventually, HU leaders arrived at strategy that involves applying a wide range of tools and tactics—carrots as well as sticks, collaboration as well as activism—to a narrow segment of the overall problem: The foundation would focus its efforts in this area on abuses that affect migrant laborers in Thailand who work in the seafood supply chain. In “Casting a Tight Net,” a Case Study article published in the Fall 2015 issue of SSIR, Sarah Murray traces the evolution of that strategy.
To supplement the article, we present video clips produced by two organizations—the Environmental Justice Foundation and The Guardian—whose investigations of the Thai seafood industry HU has helped to fund. Each clip makes vivid the abuses that HU aims to eliminate through its anti-trafficking campaign.
Why did HU, in its campaign to combat modern slavery, opt to focus on the seafood industry? And why did it choose to focus on Thailand in particular? The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), with support from HU, has conducted investigative work that shows how conditions in the Thai seafood industry are horrific in their own right—and also representative of problems that afflict the seafood supply chain more broadly. In 2013, EJF issued an in-depth report on that topic. Later, the organization produced a short film based on that report. We share this video content here with the permission of EJF.
Sold to the Sea: Human Trafficking in Thailand’s Fishing Industry
“The official immigration system is expensive and complicated, and many people enter Thailand illegally. This allows human traffickers to take advantage of vulnerable people migrating to find work. Thailand is now recognized as a global center for human trafficking” —from the video narration
For advocates and journalists alike, the work of investigating and exposing the effects of human rights abuse that occurs on the high seas can be particularly difficult. In its reporting on the conditions that migrant laborers endure in the Thai seafood industry, The Guardian relied extensively on the laborers’ firsthand testimony. To make its text-based reports come to life, the newspaper collaborated with a video animator to dramatize some of the stories that these victims told. In one animated video segment, witnesses discuss episodes in which workers responded to abject conditions by taking their own lives. We share this clip with the permission of The Guardian.
How Workers Are Being Driven to Suicide
“He just jumped in, right in front of me. I looked at him. His hands were flailing in the air. He sank into the sea as I was watching him. He killed himself, just like he wanted.”—the audio testimony (in translation) of a fisherman on a Thai fishing vessel