The US Blocks Seafood Shipment Amid Enslaved Crew Reports
On Aug 4, a tuna fishing boat based in the Pacific island nation of Fiji, was prohibited from importing its seafood into the U.S. in the midst of an increase in efforts to keep goods produced by forced labor out of the country.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service (CBP) issued an order in the U.S. ports stopping all U.S.-bound shipments from the Hangton 112 longliner due to credible evidence that the fishing vessel, operated by a Chinese national, was subjecting crew members to forced labor conditions.
CBP claim they discovered evidence that the crew of the Hangton 112 were not properly paid and their identification documents were being kept, leading to them being held in “debt bondage” until they worked to pay it back.
According to online records, the 102-foot (31-meter) vessel has a crew of around a dozen.
The boat was previously referenced in a 2019 Greenpeace Southeast Asia and the Indonesian Migrant Worker Union (IMWU) report, which documented degrading working conditions in the Pacific fishing fleet. At that time, the operator denied.