Sun, Feb 11, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Event in Yehliu to address the needs of migrant fishers

Staff writer, with CNA

An event to spread awareness of the situation and needs of Philippine and other migrant fishers is to be held on Saturday in New Taipei City’s Yehliu (野柳), the event’s organizers said on Friday.

The Migrant Workers’ Concern Desk is the organizer of the “Many Journeys, One Family” event, which is to be held at the Wanli Fishing Port Activity Center.

“The purpose is to meet with the fishers, because they are the most vulnerable [migrant workers],” desk staffer Leoni Pascal Ngo said, adding that fishers could share their most pressing needs at the event.

“We are trying to assist fishers at different ports, so we went around Keelung and Yilan, and asked them about their needs” starting in November last year, Ngo said.

“We know that the only time they will be free is during the Lunar New Year,” Ngo said, adding that “people from Taipei will go [to the event] to meet the fishers.”

“We are trying to solicit some gifts to distribute to the fishers,” and have already been receiving donations from churches and locals, Ngo said.

Fishers are the most vulnerable migrant workers, because they live aboard the vessels on which they work, Ngo said.

“Some brokerages take advantage of them and deduct money for food and accommodation,” Ngo said, adding that fishers are also to be informed of their rights at the event.

In October last year, there was a World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea in Kaohsiung that discussed how to help the fishers, said Father Gioan Tran Van Thiet, assistant parish priest at Saint Christoper’s Church and chaplain to Vietnamese migrants.

One of the main points discussed was “how to improve the lives of the fishers, especially in the ports where their boats are based,” such as bad living conditions and unfair wage deductions, Thiet said.

“We had a case in which five fishers came seeking shelter, because there was trouble at their port,” Ngo said, adding that they forwarded the case related to allegedly unfair wage deductions to the New Taipei City Bureau of Labor for investigation.

At the end of last year, there were about 12,300 migrants working in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and animal husbandry sectors, Ministry of Labor statistics showed.

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