Jakarta. Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said on Monday (27/03) that the international community must comply with Indonesian regulations on fishing vessels when traveling through national waters as ship crews in the region are becoming increasingly vulnerable to human trafficking.
"There are thousands of Indonesian ship crews working abroad, so we want to make sure that the efforts we are putting out there are in compliance with and legitimized by the international community," Susi said during her keynote speech at the International Conference on Human Rights Protection in the Fishing Industry at the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries building in Central Jakarta.
She added that human rights supposedly guaranteed to international crews, especially in respect to labor conditions, are often unenforced or ignored.
According to Susi, the Indonesian government's rescue of 2,000 trafficked fishermen working on Thai vessels in Benjina, Maluku, in 2015 has "opened everybody’s eyes that slavery, forced labor and human trafficking still exist in the fishing industry."
In light of those events, Susi said that the central government is working to ensure human rights are protected in all sectors of the country’s fishing industry.
Minister of Manpower Hanif Dhakiri said the international conference served as a platform to exchange ideas and initiatives meant to increase protection for ship crews, and to enhance efforts to combat human trafficking common in the region's fishing industry.
Hanif added that the central government is committed to increasing protection for the industry's labor force, citing continued efforts in improving existing regulations through cooperation across several ministries.
Future cooperation might see the Manpower Ministry borrow vessels from the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry to oversee labor conditions on ships operating in Indonesian waters.
The central government also hopes that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing will ultimately be classified by the international community as a transnational, organized crime as a result of Monday's conference.
The conference was organized by the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry and Satgas 115 — the national anti-illegal fishing task force — in conjunction with the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and the Belgian Embassy in Jakarta.