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signs of a trafficked fishing vessel

May 23, 2017


 source: ocean slave retrieved from:https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/08/sea-slaves-the-human-misery-that-feeds-pets-and-livestock-part-3/



Signs look out for:

Working conditions

While the majority (not all) of fishing vessels have poor working conditions, a vessel that has a crew that has been trafficked, conditions will be far worse. They will in most cases:

  • Not have adequate safety equipment

  • Work excessively long hours

  • Lack of edible food

Emotional state of seafarers

  • Will be emotionally withdrawn

  • Will be afraid to communicate with outsiders

  • Displays fearful and anxious behaviour

Travel documents and contracts

  • Most of the crew will not have seen their contracts

  • Most will not be in possession of their passports


  • to see their contracts (see if contract matches ship name)

  • To see their passports (in most cases the owner will not let the have or see it)

  • If they understand their contract (in trafficked victims, contracts are sometimes written in a language they do not understand.

  • When last they have received a salary

When last and/or have they communicated with their families.


My usual routine

When a fishing vessel comes into port, I will usually wait a 24 hours to board the vessel. If the crew and captain welcome me on board with open arms, I will usually just do the one visit. However if the I am not welcomed and get the idea that the owners/and or agents have something to hide, I will invite in the crew to the seaman's club, where I will attempt to build a relationship with the crew, to either dismiss or confirm my suspicions. If my suspicions are confirmed, I will contact the relevant parties.


(While most of these signs are accurate for and in our port, they might not be for others)


National human tracking hotline, n.d. retrieved from source: https://humantraffickinghotline.org/what-human-trafficking/recognizing-signs



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