The names of all workers and trafficking survivors used in this report are pseudonyms and, in some cases, additional identifying information has been withheld or changed to protect them from possible retaliation from employers or local government officials. The images of workers included in the report do not represent victims of forced labor or individuals interviewed during this research. No compensation was provided to interviewees in exchange for information. To facilitate frank discussions about sensitive issues, Human Rights Watch agreed to cond Revise New Decree to End Disproportionate Penalties, Protect Rights. Thailand: Forced Labor, Trafficking Persist in Fishing Fleets. Senior officials from frontline agencies, meanwhile, noted to Human Rights Watch that government victim identification efforts often focus on the more overt or objective conditions of exploitation, such as forcible confinement or physical mistreatment. In some cases, assessments rely only on superficial efforts to identify victims of abuse, such as seeing whether workers present indications of physical mistreatment. In June 2014, the Guardian newspaper reported that fish caught by victims of trafficking working aboard Thai fishing boats were being used to feed shrimp grown and exported for sale in the freezers of the world's top four retailers. Workers should be paid in a timely manner, no less than once per month. They should be compensated for overtime, which the government should regulate and oversee more strictly. The prevalence of forced labor in the Thai fishing industry reflects a longstanding lack of respect for basic rights in the sector. Human Rights Watch's findings show that labor and human rights violations come together under different configurations to put workers into situations of forced labor, as defined in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29). Despite several years of highly publicized efforts to address problems in the Thai fishing industry, the Thai government has not taken the steps necessary to end forced labor and other serious abuses on fishing boats. Inspection regimens and interview frameworks should be fundamentally revised to ensure that workers' voices are placed at the center of new procedures that include guarantees to protect workers who speak out. Legal provisions that discriminate against migrant workers by preventing them from organizing or leading unions should be urgently eliminated so that all workers can exercise their right to freedom of association. Loopholes in labor laws and regulations should be amended and compliance with labor standards rigorously enforced. All those responsible for abuses, including vessel owners, skippers, brokers, and corrupt officials, should be held accountable by authorities. Our money is with [the owner], so he can decide to give us permission [to change jobs] or not. They hold all the power and we can't do anything. All had either escaped or been rescued between May 2014 and July 2016. The remaining 153 men interviewed by Human Rights Watch were, with a few exceptions, working in the fishing industry when they were interviewed. The Thai government's failure to identify and assist victims of forced labor in the fishing industry who have not been trafficked is partly because forced labor is not a stand-alone offense under Thai law. Without legal provisions criminalizing the practices that put individuals who have voluntarily begun work in the fishing sector into situations of forced labor, victims have little hope of accessing appropriate remedies or seeing perpetrators held to account. To address exploitation and abuse in the industry and ensure victims are adequately protected, Thailand should enact legislation to prohibit all forms of forced labor, giving due consideration to the various means and elements of this crime. Thailand's anti-trafficking law was amended in 2017 to include additional means by which people can be placed into forced labor, such as debt bondage, but it still fails to provide protection to victims of forced labor who have not been trafficked. The government should also better engage with nongovernmental organizations to inform fishers of their labor rights and work to provide remedies when abuses occur. The Labour Relations Act, B.E. 2518 (1975) should be revised to eliminate discriminatory requirements that only Thai nationals may establish unions or be elected to committees from which the union leader is selected. This provision prevents migrant workers from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and other countries from asserting their rights to organize and collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions. Interviews with trafficking survivors and workers were supplemented by additional interviews with vessel operators, skippers, and industry leaders, as well as representatives from civil society groups, international organizations, and key Thai government agencies. Migrant workers should be able to access identity documents, leave employment, and change employers freely. They should have adequate rest and work in safe and acceptable conditions, in line with applicable regulations. Vessel operators need to comply with Thai health, safety, and welfare standards. Many of the human rights problems in Thailand's fishing industry are common to migrant workers in sectors throughout Thailand's economy, whose exploitation is aggravated, and sometimes caused, by the government's haphazard national policies on labor migration. Since fishers are often gone from port for days to years at a time, selection was also influenced by availability of migrant workers. –Sinuon Sao, Cambodian migrant on a fishing vessel, Mueang Rayong, Rayong, November 2016. Interviewees were between 13 and 55 years old. Some migrant workers had more than 25 years' experience working in Thailand; others had only just entered the country for the first time. Similarly, the subjects' years of experience working in the fishing industry varied from two decades or longer to none at the time of interview. In addition to fishing deckhands, Human Rights Watch also interviewed senior members of fishing crews including boatswains, engineers, cooks, helmsmen, and skippers. Ten days later, the United States Department of State downgraded Thailand in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report to Tier 3, the lowest possible status. Prompted in part by numerous media exposés that raised serious concerns about killings, beatings, and trafficking of migrant fishers, many from Burma and Cambodia, the European Commission in April 2015 issued a "yellow card" warning to Thailand, identifying it as a possible non-cooperating country in fighting illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. A subsequent "red card" would lead to European Union sanctions. Forced labor in the Thai fishing industry has persisted amid a culture of abuse, even as the government has undertaken high-profile initiatives to clean up the sector and portray a better image internationally. Despite some improvements, the situation has not changed substantially since a large-scale survey of 496 fishers in 2012 found that almost one in five "reported working against their will with the menace of a penalty preventing them from leaving.".