A Closing Note

To us and to many readers, names like Prum and Yusril seem as distant as their rural Cambodian and Indonesian homelands, and we may seem equally distant to them. Yet this Report ties these men inextricably to us, for their enslavement aboard fishing vessels represents a part of the international fishing industry that has for too long gone overlooked. In Yusril’s case, his enslavement met the demand for cheap fish exports to the U.S. market – exported to otherwise reputable retail chains that sell slave-caught seafood just blocks from this office. Yet what’s so remarkable is just how unremarkable these experiences are to thousands of Burmese, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnamese men who are the expendable fodder for this global fishing industry every day. Two fathers who only wanted to support their families, they found slavery instead. They and others like them suffer hellish conditions for years confined on boats – sometimes witnessing others thrown overboard when too weak to work further. As this Report has shown in recent years, when they do escape, they find themselves on unfamiliar shores, from Central America and West Africa to the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

Avoiding responsibility or turning away because abuse happened farther than 12-kilometers from shore does not honor Prum and Yusril’s suffering. The zones of impunity that their experiences highlight are not found only on the open water, but onshore as well. The zone of impunity is not just created by a toxic nexus of corruption and collusion, but also when consumers and businesses fail to act. Keeping product chains free of slavery is not just a moral imperative; it’s smart business. Identifying slavery in seafood product chains helps reward responsible buyers while holding the unscrupulous accountable.

When slaveryfootprint.org asks you the question “How many slaves work for you?”, remember that these are not statistics, but people with hopes and dreams and courage. They are Prum and Yusril. We dedicate this Report to them and to the thousands of others they represent.

The staff of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons is:

Maria Alejandra Acevedo
Sheela Ahluwalia
Marielle Ali
Feleke Assefa
Shonnie R. Ball
Terri Ballard
Cassidy Bohman
Casey Branchini
Betsy Bramon
Marissa Brescia
Carla Bury
Luis CdeBaca
Sarah Curtis
Sonia Helmy-Dentzel
Jennifer Donnelly
Dana Dyson
Marisa Ferri
Mark Forstrom
Alison Kiehl Friedman
Sara E. Gilmer
Paula Goode
Caitlin Heidenreich
Veronica Hernandez
Julie Hicks
Stephanie R. Hurter
Tyra Jackson
Ann M. Karl
Nan Kennelly
Kendra L. Kreider
Abraham Lee
Darrion Locke
Martha Lovejoy
Kerry McBride
Ericka Moten
Tim Mulvey
Kim Marie Natoli
Elizabeth Norris
Blanca Adriana Ontiveros
April Parker
Jennifer A. Phillips
Rachel Yousey Raba
Amy O’Neill Richard
Le’Shawnda Riley
Amy Rofman
Laura Svat Rundlet
Sean Ruthe
Amy Rustan
Chad C. Salitan
Kathryn Schneider
Sarah Scott
Mai Shiozaki
Jane Nady Sigmon
Desiree M. Suo
Mark B. Taylor
Natalya J. Wallin
Raquel Zanoni
Janet Zinn

Special thanks to Lamya S. El-Shacke and the graphic services team at Global Publishing Solutions.