Hawaiian seafood Americans buy from high-end stores and restaurants is almost certainly mostly caught by undocumented fishermen working 20 -hour days
Hundreds of undocumented humen work in Hawaii on fishing barges, making as little as 70 cents an hour and unable to step on to US soil because they do not have visas, a six-month long Associated Press investigation has received.
The report was part of an ongoing investigation of labor abuses in the fishing industry done by the AP.
The entire system, which contradicts other state and federal statutes, operates with the blessing of high-ranking US lawmakers and officials, writers Martha Mendoza and Margie Mason wrote.
Americans who feed Hawaiian seafood are almost certainly ingesting fish caught by the men on these barges, as their highly valued catches are sold in premium eateries and stores like Whole Foods.
This is a unique situation, coast guard vessel examiner Charles Medlicott told the AP. But it is legal.
Due to a loophole pushed for by influential lawmakers, Hawaiis commercial angling boats are exempted from from federal rules enforced almost everywhere else. The workers have little legal recourse in the field of labor rights, and are incarcerated on barges where US Customs and Border Protection involves captains to hold the mens passports.
That potentially goes against federal human trafficking statutes saying bosses who possess workers identification documents can face up to five years in prison, the AP wrote.
Brokers are paid to bring construction workers, who come from places like Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam or Kiribati, to the approximately 140 boats in the fleet. The humen are not allowed to land at the airport in Honolulu, though they are allowed to exit the country from there.
The conditions on each barge vary by captain with some tidy, and others piled with garbage or involving crew members to use the bathroom in buckets or over the side of the vessel, the AP reported. The men rely on the captains for food and medical attention.
The fishermen work 20 -hour days, and can get paid as little as $350 a month but still more than they can attain back home in countries where people live on less than a dollar a day, the AP wrote.
One man from the Philippines told the Associated Press that he was working to support his teenage daughter and son in college until they finish school. A 23 -year-old man from Indonesia said he decided to get a job on the barge because he was jealous of neighbours who returned from Hawaii with fund to buy a house.
It turns out that the salary I get is not much better than my job in my homeland. How can I have a home when Im back home? he said. Its simply my silly dream.
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