Slavery of Indonesian Migrant Fishers: a Review of Regulation and Its Implementation

Muhammad Nur


According to the 2018 Global Slavery Index, migrant workers in the maritime and fisheries industry are as the second-ranked sector with the worst modern slavery practices among other work sectors in the world. This article aimed to analyze why many cases of modern slavery experienced by migrant fishers from Indonesia, and what stakeholders should do to improve the protection system for migrant fishers from Indonesia. The author uses normative juridical research methods. The data collection method used is the literature study. The results of this study found that the high number of cases affecting migrant fishers from Indonesia is caused by various governance weaknesses that have occurred so far. These weaknesses occur both at home and abroad. These weaknesses start from policy to implementation in the field and has resulted in cases of violations against migrant fishers that continue to this day. This paper provides some protection model and recommendations for improving the governance of placement and protection for the migrant fishers, namely: 1. Supervision System Improvement; 2. Improvement of the data collection system for Indonesian migrant fishers; 3. Increasing and developing foreign cooperation; 4. Increasing socio-economic reintegration programs; 5. Ratification of the Work in Fishing Convention 2007. 


Fishing Vessel Crews; Migrant; Slavery

Full Text:



Journal Articles:

Arisman, A. and Jaya, R.K. (2020). Labour migration in ASEAN: Indonesian migrant workers in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Asian Education and Development Studies, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. Retrieved August 4, 2020,

Azis, Avyanthi & Wahyudi, Ridwan. (2020). Imperfect Victims and an Imperfect Protocol: Reflecting on the Trafficking Experiences of Indonesian Migrant Fishermen. Journal of Human Trafficking. 6:2. 156-167,

Bharathi, S., Antony, C., Rajagopalasamy, CBT., Uma, A., Ahilan, B., and Aanand S. (2019). Functional feed additives used in fish feeds. International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies. 7 (3). 44-52.

Kolawole, Oluwatoyin & Bolobilwe, Kabo. (2018). Survival at a Cost: How Artisanal Fishers Perceive Occupational Hazards in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. South African Geographical Journal. 101 (1). 1-21. DOI:

Nakamura, Katrina, et al. (2018). Seeing slavery in seafood supply chains. Science Advances. 4 (7). 1-10. e1701833 DOI:

Nur, Muhammad. (2018). Recommendation For Authorization Overlapping Of Placement Of Indonesian Fishing Vessels Crews Abroad. Jurnal IUS Kajian Hukum dan Keadilan. 6 (1). 2-13.|

Pearl, Harry. (2020). Indonesian fishermen who died on Chinese boats faced abuse, 21- hour days, interviews reveal. South China Morning Post. Retrieved August 1, 2020, from


Raharjo, Satjipto. (2000). Ilmu Hukum. Bandung: Citra Aditya Bakti.

Reports and Research Papers:

Advocates for Public Interest Law and International Organization for Migration Republic of Korea. (2017). Tied at Sea: Human Rights Violations Against Migrant Fishers on Korean Fishing Vessels. Research Report. Seoul. Retrieved August 2, 2020, from

California Environmental Associates. (2018). Trends in Marine Resources and Fisheries Management in Indonesia: A 2018 Review. 1-146. Retrieved August 6, 2020, from

Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF). (2020). Illegal fishing and human rights abuses in the Korean fishing fleet. EJF Brief Report. London. 15. Retrieved August 1, 2020, from

Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF). (2020). Illegal Fishing And Human Rights Abuses in The Taiwanese Fishing Fleet. EJF Brief Report. London. 15. Retrieved August 4, 2020, from

Food and Agriculture Organization. (2020). The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020. Sustainability in action. Rome.

Gallagher, A. and McAuliffe, M. (2016). South-East Asia and Australia. In: Migrant Smuggling Data and Research: A global review of the emerging evidence base (M. McAuliffe and F. Laczko, eds). IOM, Geneva. Retrieved August 6, 2020, from:

Global Slavery Index. (2018). The Global Slavery Index 2018. Walk Free Foundation. Nedlands.

Greenpeace and Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia. (2019). Seabound: The Journey To Modern Slavery On The High Seas. 3. Retrieved July 13, 2020, from

Hamilton, A., et al. (2011). Market and Industry Dynamics in the Global Tuna Supply Chain. Forum Fisheries Agency. 1-153. Retrieved July 16, 2020, from www.ffa. int/system/files/Global%20Tuna%20Market%20%26%20Industry%20Dynamics_Part%201a.pdf

Human Rights Network for Migrant Fishermen. (2020). Who Tied Them to the Sea?: Monitoring Report on the Human Rights of Migrant Workers on Korean Fishing Vessels. Advocates for Public Interest Law. Seoul. Retrieved August 3, 2020, from Labour Organization. (2014a). Migration in South-East Asia Policy Brief - Migration and work in fishing, An outline of international standards, regional trends and good practices. ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. Bangkok.

International Labour Organization. (2014b). Work in fishing in the ASEAN region: Protecting the rights of migrant fishers. ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.


International Organization for Migration. (2016). Report on Human Trafficking, Forced Labour and Fisheries Crime in the Indonesian Fishing Industry. Jakarta. 1-148. Retrieved August 6, 2020, from

Parhusip, Jonathan S. (2018). Racialized Migration: Indonesian Fishers On Taiwanese Fishing Vessels. International Center for Cultural Studies (ICCS). Retrieved July 21, 2020, from

Stringer, C., Simmons, G., & Coulston, D. (2011). Not in New Zealand’s Waters Surely?Labour and Human Rights Abuses Aboard Foreign Fishing Vessels. New Zealand Asia Institute Working Paper Series No. 11-01. University of Auckland.

Sutton, Trevor and Avery Siciliano. (2016). Seafood Slavery: Human Trafficking in the International Fishing Industry. Center for American Progress. Retrieved July 22, 2020, from

Subasinghe, R. (2014). International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). Presentation.Rome.

Susilo, W., Hidayah, A., Mulyadi. (2015). Selusur Kebijakan (Minus) Perlindungan Buruh Migran Indonesia. Migrant Care: Jakarta.

Trisiana, Eva. Directorate General of Manpower Placement and Job Opportunity Expansion (Dit. PPTKLN) of the Ministry of Manpower of the Republic of Indonesia at an online seminar held on May 13, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020, from

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2011). Transnational Organized Crime In The Fishing Industry, Focus on: Trafficking in Persons Smuggling of Migrants Illicit Drugs Trafficking. Vienna.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2013). Transnational Organized Crime in East Asia and the Pacific: A Threat Assessment. Vienna. Retrieved August 3, 2020, from

Verité. (2016). Human Trafficking Risk in Global Fishing and Aquaculture Sector.Amherst. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from


Kumparan. (2020). Perbudakan ABK WNI di Kapal Long Xing 629. Retrieved July 20,2020, from 1tOHAw6b4Rf/full


  • There are currently no refbacks.