ATEST responds to A.P. investigation of forced labor on U.S. fishing vessels

In response to the Associated Press story on forced labor on U.S. fishing vessels, Melysa Sperber, Director of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST), said:

“ATEST is deeply concerned about the exploitative conditions of foreign national crew on United States-flagged fishing vessels reported by the Associated Press. The United States must lead the fight against modern slavery by example. The U.S. government should respond by immediately addressing any gaps in law or policy that permits this type of exploitation, forced labor, and suffering; investigating and prosecuting perpetrators; providing assistance to survivors of these abuses; and making any needed changes in law to address and prevent this in the future. 

“Not only is the human suffering of those who are being exploited unacceptable, but the presence of this forced labor undermines the ability of the United States to influence other countries. Until the United States puts its own house in order, it will be difficult to convince other governments to seriously combat modern slavery in their own countries.”