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Policy Briefing: Why the Department of Labor Must Put Taiwan-caught Tuna on its List of Goods Produced by Forced Labor

by Andy Shen

May 5, 2020

Abuses on Taiwanese tuna vessels will not stop until the US uses the full range of tools at its disposal to push the Taiwanese government to make changes to its laws, policies, and practices.

Last December, Greenpeace and 23 additional NGOs, trade unions, and businesses sent a letter to the US Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking calling on it to change its practice of excluding distant water fishing (DWF) nations that use forced labor to catch seafood on the high seas from its biennial List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor (TVPRA List), declare an official policy of attributing high seas catch to the flag State, and remove all seafood exemptions in its upcoming 2020 report.1

This briefing supplements that letter by providing more information on forced labor in Taiwan’s distant water fishing industry and demonstrating each of the criteria for listing Taiwan-caught tuna in the 2020 TVPRA List are fulfilled. The abuses on Taiwanese vessels will not stop until the US, as one of the largest markets in the world for imported seafood, uses the full range of tools at its disposal, including the TVPRA List, to push the Taiwanese government to make changes to its laws, policies, and practices.

By Andy Shen

Andy Shen is a Senior Oceans Adviser and the US project lead for Greenpeace's global tuna campaign. An international human rights lawyer, he previously worked for the International Labour Organization and the International Labor Rights Forum, and has extensive experience on human rights and labor issues in the global fishing industry.

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