The Southeast Asian Forum to End Trafficking in Persons and Forced Labour of Fishers (“The SEA Forum for Fishers”) is the multi-stakeholder Regional Coordination Body to be established in Southeast Asia to improve coordination in combatting trafficking in persons, forced labour, and modern slavery at sea.

The SEA Forum for Fishers is a non-binding voluntary multi-stakeholder initiative to strengthen coordination among the Members to combat trafficking in persons, forced labour, and slavery in the fishing and seafood sector through an integrated, holistic, human rights-based and action-led approach.


The objectives of the SEA Forum for Fishers are:

  1. To promote and facilitate collaboration, social dialogue based on the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, good industrial relations, sustainable economic development, decent work and

    social protection in the fishing and seafood sector.

  2.  To eliminate trafficking in persons in Southeast Asian fisheries by strengthening coordination and increasing the efficiency and efficacy of the efforts already underway at the national and regional levels.

  3. To promote human rights, fundamental principles and rights at work, and other relevant international standards and obligations, such as in ILO Conventions and the UN Protocol to Prevent Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children for fishers and migrant fishers in Southeast Asia.

  4. To strengthen cooperation between Members from labour-sending States, transit States, and labour receiving States, port States, and flag States on labour migration governance to facilitate safe, regular and orderly migration consistent with international labour standards.

  5. To develop regional protocols and a clear division of responsibilities to strengthen exercise of the respective jurisdiction of flag States, port States and labour-sending States, particularly in relation to inspections of vessels, interventions, identification of victims and victim assistance including to migrant fishers who are abandoned in a State of which he or she is not a national.

  6. To develop regional protocols for improved data collection and sharing, to share best practices and information between Members including on national labour administration and inspection systems.

  7. To promote meaningful access to justice for fishers, including free or affordable complaint mechanisms in cases of alleged abuse of their rights, effective and appropriate remedies where abuse has occurred, and to strengthen mutual legal assistance among governments to that end.

  8. To promote the ratification and effective implementation of the Work in Fishing Convention (No. 188), Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention, 2014 (P029), and other instruments relevant to the fishing sector through consultation and ensure coordination among agencies at the national, regional, and international levels.


The SEA Forum for Fishers consists of a multi-stakeholder Membership supported by a Technical Advisory Group, guided by a Steering Committee, and with a Secretariat, with designated Working Groups focused on specific cross-cutting themes and issues.



Members of the SEA Forum for Fishers include:

  1. National government authorities;
  2. Representatives of workers in and from Southeast Asia including trade unions and other nongovernmental civil society organizations;
  3. Representatives of employers including industry associations and private employment agencies in and from Southeast Asia, and businesses that source from the fishing and seafood industry in Southeast Asia.


The Secretariat provides technical and administrative support to the SEA Forum for Fishers, and supports the implementation of its decisions.

Steering Committee

The strategic direction of the SEA Forum for Fishers shall be guided by a Steering Committee. A Steering

Committee shall include representatives from the following stakeholders:

a. Three (3) national government authorities representing three countries in Southeast Asia;

b. Three (3) representatives of workers;

c. Three (3) representatives of employers.

There are one Chair of the Steering Committee representing governments, and one Vice-Chair representing workers and one Vice-Chair representing employers.

Technical Advisory Group

International, regional and national organizations, academic and research institutions, non-government organizations with technical expertise, and trade union, industry and private sector associations or leaders may participate in the SEA Forum for Fishers as Technical Advisors. 

Working Groups

Working Groups were established by Members of the SEA Forum for Fishers to address issues of common interest or cross-cutting themes. The purpose of the Working Groups is to take practical action at the technical level, produce recommendations to the Membership within the scope of their Terms of Reference, and foster operational cooperation among Members. See the 5 working groups on the figure below:


Why join as a member of SEA Forum for Fishers?

Members benefits: 

a. Have opportunities to participate in a forum with diverse and wide-ranging stakeholders who have a common interest in ending trafficking and forced labour in the fishing and seafood industry. 

b. Have opportunities to meet, liaise, understand and potentially work with a wide range of stakeholders across the region.

c. Be able to influence the agenda, conversation and priority setting at a regional level.

d. Have access to expertise and experience from the regional and Technical Advisors.

e. Form and participate in Working Groups of cross-cutting themes and issues with partners from across the region and with the guidance of Technical Advisors

f. Have the opportunity to form innovative partnerships and alliances with stakeholders across the region.

International and regional organizations, academic and research institutions, non-governmental organizations with technical expertise, industry, and private sector associations or leaders may be invited to participate in the SEA Forum for Fishers as Technical Advisors.

Technical Advisors serve as resources in their relevant area of expertise for the Members of the SEA Forum for Fishers including in Working Groups and to the Steering Committee. Any Member(s) of the SEA Forum for Fishers can seek the advice of a Technical Advisor directly or via the Secretariat. 

While Technical Advisor do not vote on decisions of the Forum, they can make recommendations to the Steering Committee and the Membership in areas of their respective expertise for their consideration and adoption.

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