New podcast! Fighting forced labour in fishing: How Namibia became a pioneer

Namibia is a pioneer country when it comes to addressing forced labour in fishing. The ocean protection agenda is just starting to include the very interconnected issues of labour rights and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and Namibia is leading the way.

In this podcast episode we explore how labour abuses such as forced labour and environmental degradation in fishing can be addressed at the same time. The episode also covers useful tools and resources for the private sector on how to tackle forced labour in fishing (see links below). It builds on a previous introductory episode where we looked at how child labour, forced labour, and environmental degradation in the fishing sector are connected (ILO GBNFL podcast episode 5).

Fishing is one of Namibia’s top industries and the European Union is one of Namibia’s most important markets. Following reports of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, as well as child trafficking and forced labour on some vessels using Namibian ports, the ILO and the European Commission launched an initiative in 2021 called the Supply Chains for a Sustainable Future of Work – Project Linked to Fisheries in Namibia. This has led to government coordination of environmental and labour inspections of fishing vessels, a standardized employment contract for fishers, and much more.

In this special episode, moderated by ILO GBNFL consultant Mariska van der Linden, we will hear the views of three forced labour experts involved with the ILO and European Commission’s project on what makes Namibia a pioneer. They will also share their top tips and favourite resources for the business community.

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The national perspective    

Oliver Mungu Numwa
National Project Coordinator
Supply Chains for a Sustainable Future of Work –
Project Linked to Fisheries in Namibia (ILO and European Commission)

The labour inspectorate view

Aune Mudjanima
Director for Labour Services
The Government of Namibia

The global take

Alison Potter
Technical Officer
8.7 Accelerator Lab

Free tools and resources for businesses

We asked each speaker what the most useful tools and resources are for businesses taking on forced labour in fishing and more widely. We have compiled their answers into the handy list below.

ILO and ILO GBNFL tools and resources

Other useful resources

  • ·The standardized employment contract for fishers will be published by the Government of Namibia in early 2024. Once available, it can be downloaded and used immediately by Namibian businesses. It aligns with national laws and the ILO’s Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188). The contract will be uploaded here as soon as it is available.
  • Businesses can follow the Namibian Labour Inspectorate’ social media channels – @MLIREC and Facebook – to stay up to date of any changes to policies and regulations, as well as good practice.
  • Namibia piloted the first-ever joint inspection of vessels in 2022 at Lüderitz and Walvis Bay ports, involving the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, and the Ministry of Works and Transport. For more on this first joint inspection, please watch this short video, which also features some of our podcast speakers.

Relevant laws and other legal instruments

Fighting forced labour and environmental degradation in fishing: A joint inspection in Namibia.

Watch out for our next podcast episode on how the Malaysian rubber industry is turning the tide on forced labour.