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Vatican calls for efforts to end forced labour at sea

Hundreds of Burmese fishermen were rescued from an isolated island in 2015 (AP)

Vatican and UN officials are calling for intensified efforts to end rights abuses, including forced labour and human trafficking, in the world’s fishing industry.

Marking World Fisheries Day, the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, recommended coordinated international efforts “to break the chain of exploitation” in the fishing industry in many countries.

José Graziano da Silva, director-general of the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation, on Monday noted that the industry provides food and income for millions of people. He added: “Sadly, the same industry that offers so many opportunities also victimises the most vulnerable.”

An expose by The Associated Press led to the release of more than 2,000 slaves in the fishing industry in south-east Asia in 2016.