Modern slavery can take many forms including the trafficking of people, forced labour, servitude and slavery. Recent statistics show that 47% of all potential victims who cite the UK as the location of exploitation, were trafficked into forced labour. Traffickers and illegal/ unlicensed gangmasters target a range of industries including those involved in fisheries.
The Fishing industry and the people it employs landed £775 million worth of fish into the UK and abroad in 2015. Over 12,000 fishermen were active in the UK. 4 cases of modern slavery in the UK’s fishing industry were identified in 2016. While the numbers coming to light are small, slavery’s hidden nature means actual numbers are likely to be much higher. While the vast majority of captains/skippers will be recruiting fisherman legitimately, some could find themselves targeted by unscrupulous gangmasters who may be offering a ready supply of labour at knocked down rates or getting cheap labour from ships in international waters.