Honolulu - A recent survey published by Associated Press found that hundreds of foreigners, undocumented and from Asia and the Pacific, have been confined to vessels for years without basic labor protections. With no legal standing on U.S. soil, the men are at the mercy of their American captains on American-flagged, American-owned vessels, catching prized swordfish and tuna and are paid as little as 70 cents an hour. Since they do not have visas, they are not allowed to set foot on shore and live in subhuman conditions.
The working day may last up to 20 hours, the fishermen live on boats forced to use buckets instead of toilets, suffering running sores from bed bugs and sometimes lacking sufficient food. Since they cannot step on US soil, if they have to leave the boat to go on another boat they must dive and swim to the boat. It also revealed instances of human trafficking. Most of the crewmembers in the Hawaii fleet are from the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Kiribati. Because they have no visas, they are not allowed to fly into the country, and are instead picked up at foreign ports, to make them work on fishing vessels. >>