Discrimination During COVID-19: Assessing Migrant Fishers’ Vulnerability to Forced Labor in Thailand

Seminar No. 1186
14 September 2022 Time 12:30-13:30 hrs.

Johanna Lee (IPSR Visiting Researcher)

Abstract

Over the past two years, the Government of Thailand has instituted several policies in efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many of these regulations have inadvertently made migrant workers in the fishing and seafood processing industries in Thailand more vulnerable to forced labor by subjecting workers to abusive living and working conditions, increasing their risk of debt bondage, compelling them to work excessive overtime, and delaying or weakening on-shore labor inspections that could potentially detect indicators of forced labor. This paper assesses the impact of the Thai government’s Covid-19 regulations on the basic rights of migrant workers, analyzing secondary sources and presenting a few case studies to illustrate the policy gaps. The authors evaluate the challenges in the protection of labor rights by the Thai government’s attempts to address the problem of forced labor.

Key words: migrant labor policy, migration regulation, fishing and seafood processing, Covid-19, forced labor

Moderator: Assoc. Prof. Dr.Sudarat Musikawong

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