When Bayani secured an overseas job in the fishing industry from a broker in his home country of the Philippines, it was about finding work that he was skilled at and enjoyed and that could support his family. He didn’t expect to be forced to fish illegally, to be imprisoned on a fishing boat, or to have his passport and other documents withheld by his employer. Even so, had his family back home been receiving his salary, as he thought was happening, he said he might have kept quiet. But when Bayani learned a third-party was skimming his pay for an alleged debt owed by his employer, he decided to break his silence regardless of the consequences.
Bayani’s ordeal lasted for months during which he feared for his own wellbeing and that of his family. But because he had access to a mobile phone and a former employer who had leverage with his current employer, he eventually escaped his ordeal. Many other fishers in the global fishing industry aren’t so lucky. Bayani was not kidnapped and enslaved. He did not witness murder, child labor, or sexual abuse — all well documented occurrences in seafood supply chains.