Taiwan’s migrant fishers need Wi-Fi at sea to ensure access to fundamental labor rights. 

Migrants from across Asia work in Taiwan’s fishing fleet, catching seafood we eat every day. Working under harsh conditions and often facing danger, violence and abuse on the job, thousands of fishers have come together in a new campaign to demand fundamental labor rights.

Taiwan has the world’s second largest distant water fleet, with more than 22,000 crew, the majority migrant workers. At sea for up to a year without access to Wi-Fi onboard fishing vessels, workers are isolated and unable to communicate with their family, union, service providers, or state officials. Access to Wi-Fi is critical for workers’ rights under international labor standards, including their right to freedom of association. Wi-Fi access is also essential for workers’ mental health and that of their families.

Demand:

Global allies are joining migrant fishers, unions, and NGOs in a call to ensure fishers have Wi-Fi while working in the Taiwanese fleet. Governments — including the home and destination country of migrants, fishing ground countries, and governments where the seafood is ultimately sold and consumed — and the multinational corporations and investors at the top of seafood supply chains all have an important role to play.  

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Last month's hearing on forced labor in China's seafood industry showed the urgent need for transparency and accountability in global seafood supply chains. And Thea Lee, Deputy Undersecretary of ILAB DOL, highlighted #WIFINOWForFishersRights as a solution.

"Progress is possible...having access to Wi-Fi…can help address especially some of the most egregious labor abuses in terms of unsafe conditions and forced labor," shared Deputy Undersecretary Lee.

Ian Urbina
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