From Riverside, CA of the most beautiful classic hotels Mission Inn Hotel Spa. A hotel filled with old world charm. This was my first visit. As a five year old, I remember going with my father to collect sand from a nearby allotment then wheeling to the junction between West Avenue and Ebley Road in Handsworth Wood, Birmingham. The sand was spread over the tarmac forming the base for a bonfire in the evening. Tables set up in West Avenue were loaded with cakes for a celebration party.
Revelations of modern slavery at sea emerged in Thailand in 2014, prompting the nation to vow to better regulate the sector to tackle labour exploitation, trafficking and illegal fishing after the European Union threatened to ban Thai seafood imports.But a senior official said a drive to clean up the industry was waning after exclusively obtained data revealed a large discrepancy between the official number of complaints and those recorded by four leading charities that advocate for fishermen.Freedom of information requests filed with the government over three months showed 289 workers on fishing vessels in 11 provinces lodged labour abuse complaints between January 2015 and early 2020. There were no details regarding the outcomes.Yet the charities said they had helped about 1,600 fishermen from these regions raise grievances since 2015 over issues from non payment and excessive overtime to verbal and physical abuse.They feared most complaints were being dealt with off the books and that workers were missing out on due compensation while exploitative employers avoided scrutiny and punishment.”For government officials, a large number of complaints means you’re not performing well, and many fishermen agree to mediation because they don’t want to waste time if the case goes to court,” said Sunwanee Dolah from the Raks Thai Foundation.”But this results in repeated offences and wrongdoers not being punished, causing a never ending cycle of rights violations,” added Sunwanee, whose charity supports fishermen who are mainly migrants from neighbouring Cambodia and Myanmar.Thanaporn Sriyakul, an official in the prime minister’s taskforce who oversees the fishing industry, said efforts to enforce labour laws at sea had decreased “at an astonishing rate” since the EU lifted its threat of a ban in January 2019.”Government agencies have not been able to properly pursue complaints, resulting in distrust by the fisher(men),” said Thanaporn, adding that some labour ministry officials did not understand their duties when it came to reporting grievances.Labour officials said individual complaints made against employers had to be registered while general ones filed about the workplace did not, and that this could explain the disparity between the newly revealed state data and the charities’ figure.The charities, however, said all of the grievances they had helped to raise focused on employers rather than the workplace. Labour ministry inspector general Somboon Trisilanun said he “did not deny” that some complaints had wrongly gone unrecorded.The data obtained by the Thomson Reuters Foundation covered 11 provinces where most of about 63,000 fishermen who work on commercial vessels are based.