The report describes examples of smuggling of migrants, illicit traffic in drugs and other forms of crime that take place within the fishing industry to the detriment of law-abiding fishers and the legitimate fishing industry.
The perhaps most disturbing finding of the study, according to the UNODC, was the severity of the abuse of fishers trafficked for the purpose of forced labour on board fishing vessels. There are examples of fishers being held as de facto prisoners of the sea, and the study documents several instances of reported deaths, severe physical and sexual abuse, coercion and general disregard for the safety and working conditions of fishers.
The study found that although fishers are often recruited by organised criminal groups due to their skills and knowledge of the sea, they seldom seem to be regarded as the masterminds behind organised criminal activities involving the fishing industry or fishing vessels.
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