'Ghost Fleet': New film about human trafficking and the illegal fishing industry

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Ghost Fleet

Slavery is still a significant problem in many parts of the world. We don't often see it though as an immediate issue that still exists in the same way as may have been articulated throughout history. It's a fact that human rights issues abound the world over. 

And most would probably not relate it to the fishing. Thailand is seeing the effects of this in their as many people are being put at risk and having to travel thousands of miles from home in order to fulfil fishing company quotas. Human traffickers seek out labourers to fill their shortages by selling men from local southeast Asian countries. Once at sea, these captive men go months, even years, without setting foot on land, earning little to no pay -- becoming slaves at sea.

Ghost Fleet is a feature-length documentary that pulls back the veil on the seafood industry to reveal striking stories of survival and redemption. Hauntingly beautiful and driven by a strong-willed heroine, the documentary takes viewers on a sweeping search of remote Indonesian islands looking for escaped men who seek out survival. Bangkok-based Patima Tungpuchayakul, a Thai abolitionist, has committed her life to helping these "lost" men return home. Facing illness, death threats, corruption, and complacency, Patima’s fearless determination for justice inspires her nation and the world.

Today on Face2Face, David Peck talks to some of the cast and crew of Ghost Fleet.  His guests are Patima Tungpuchayakul, Jeffrey Waldron, Shannon Service, and Jon Bowermaster. 

About the cast and crew:

Patima Tungpuchayakul is a Manager at Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation (LPN). She has emerged as the key person behind attempts to end slavery at sea in South-East Asia. She is also deeply involved with the concerted effort to provide adequate protection for all migrant workers throughout the 10 nations that make up the region. 

Shannon Service is an independent reporter and filmmaker whose work has appeared in The New York Times, the BBC and The Guardian. In 2012, she worked with Becky Palmstrom to break the story of slavery on Thai fishing boats for NPR’s Morning Edition. She has won several reporting awards, including an Edward R. Murrow, and lives on a houseboat with her pet seagull, Fluffy. 

Jeffrey Waldron is a graduate of University of Southern California's prestigious Cinema-Television Production Program, with an MFA from the American Film Institute. He earned a 2012 Independent Spirit Award Nomination for Outstanding Cinematography and has received over ten awards and nominations for his directing and cinematography in both narrative and documentary films. In 2013 he was nominated for Best Director at the International Academy of Web TV Awards. 

Jon Bowermaster is a writer, filmmaker and adventurer, and a six-time grantee of the National Geographic Expeditions Council. Jon has written a dozen books and produced/directed more than twenty documentary films. He is President of Oceans 8 Films and One Ocean Media Foundation, chairman of the advisory board of Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation and a board member of Mark Ruffalo's Water Defense.

Image Copyright: Vulcan Productions. Used with permission.

For more information about David Peck’s podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit his site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

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