The word "slavery" is so far away from everyday life for most of us that it is just a slightly unusual term. But as I write this, millions of people all over the world are made into slaves who live in a kind of parallel reality we never see. Ghost Fleet takes up slavery in our modern times and is Sharon Services' first feature film.
The film won the Activist Documentary Award at the Dutch Film Festival Movies That Matter earlier this year. It is a documentary about tragedy and courage that tells the story of slaves working as fishermen in Southeast Asia, and the brave Thai activist Patima, who dares to fight for their cause.
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Thailand has a billion-dollar fishing industry, but after decades of overfishing, the fishing boats have to sail farther out than before, and often the fishermen must be at sea for several months in a row. Thai men are no longer interested in fishing, because wages are low and they have to be away from home for a very long time. The fishing industry has therefore had to develop another method, where they literally buy boat crews from the mafia – who trick or kidnap young men from Thailand or neighboring Burma and Vietnam.
On board the fishing boats, the men are forced to work as slaves for very long shifts.
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