Help us ensure Australians can buy #SlaveryFreeSeafood

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My name is Fuzz, and I live in Sydney - where we love our seafood. What most people don’t know is that the seafood we eat or give to our pets is sometimes caught by young men and boys caught in slavery on fishing boats in the Asia Pacific Region. That’s why I’m calling on the  Australian Government to implement a Certification Standard so we can all know our imported seafood is slavery free! 

One of our nearest neighbours, Thailand, is the world’s third-largest seafood exporter in an industry worth $5.5 billion.  1 in 10 commercial fishermen in the region are estimated to be enslaved or in slave-like conditions, many from poverty-stricken countries like Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

I have met and worked with survivors who have managed to escape and their stories are heartbreaking. The fishing boats are floating prisons that these men can’t get off for years, in some cases decades and less than 8% ever return home. They work 20 hrs a day on a cup or rice, are regularly beaten, tortured and killed and if they do manage to escape, trauma and shame make it extremely difficult for them to go home. The fish these trafficked men and boys catch ends in our supermarkets, restaurants, fish farms, and pet food.

Slavery survivor, Mr Vannak Anan Prum, told me about his horrific experience:

"The boat was small, but it became my whole world. I knew that I could die at any moment and just disappear beneath the sea without a trace. Months turned into years. I grew tired in my heart and mind. I thought about my wife and my child all the time. How would I survive? How would I ever get home again? I want to open everyone’s eyes to slavery, which should not be in existence in this modern world. Freedom is what we were born with; no one has the right to take it away.” (The Dead Eye and the Deep Blue Sea)

There is a way we can disrupt the slavery supply chain: Australian consumers need to know where our seafood comes from, who is catching it, and the conditions they live in. We’ve seen “fair trade” stickers help inform consumers about coffee, chocolate and other items. Now, we need to establish something similar for seafood. The lives of thousands of men and boys are at stake.  

Please, sign and share this petition calling on Marise Payne and the Australian Government to help develop a common recognised slavery-checked standard so that we can more clearly know what is properly sourced seafood.

Let’s all help to ensure we can buy #SlaveryFreeSeafood

Fuzz Kitto from Be Slavery Free (formerly Stop the Traffik)

You can read about my work here, and to see Vannak Prum’s work click here.  To learn more about what life is like for sea slaves watch the film Buoyancy – www.BuoyancyFilm.org