Human Rights Fishermen Now Doing Well in San Francisco

According to an AP story, two fishermen who claim that they had been held against their will aboard Honolulu-based fishing vessels are now living in San Francisco using emergency visas designed for those who have been victims of human trafficking. The fishermen have also filed a lawsuit against their former employer saying that they were forced to work 20 hour shifts without the proper equipment, pee in buckets and sleep where bed bugs could cause running sores on their bodies. The two men say that they signed the contract in Honolulu believing that they would be well treated and be able to leave the boat whenever they chose. The two claim that they were held aboard the board against their will in a move that their lawyer compares to slavery.

Earlier this year, the AP investigated many such claims involving 140 boats where workers claim to make less than 70 cents an hour. As a reaction to the criticism, the Hawaii Longline Association has created a new contract. Owners wanting to sell their fish at seafood auctions beginning on October 1. By signing the contract, workers acknowledge that they understand that they will be living on boats for up to one year while their passports are held by the ship’s owners.

Currently, owners do not have to provide basic rights to their workers. Many human rights advocates are calling on Congress to rectify the situation so that these workers are treated like all workers in the United States.

Today, the two fishermen are doing well. They do, however, avoid Fisherman’s Wharf. Both men are employed by a liquor store. After completing their first job, one man goes on to drive a car for hire while the other man takes inventory at a large department store.

The men say that they like their new life. They admit to being scared of their previous boss saying that they want to avoid him. They say that the reason for their lawsuit is to bring people’s attention to this problem believing that most people are not even aware that the problem is going on today in America.

 

 

Fighting for Human Rights in the Modern Age

The World Needs A Hero

Thor Halvorssen has one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. As the president of the Human Rights Foundation he is tasked with helping those living under dictatorships across the world with finding ways to empower themselves and establish the parameters of their freedom. Since dictators usually don’t take opposition to their regimes lightly. They use prisons, intimidation, and violence to suppress those willing to challenge them. Nonetheless Halvorssen continues his fight for humanity. Born and raised in Venezuela he has personal reasons for his activism. His family bears the scars and pain that come with challenging authoritarian government.

The Family That Fights Together

Halvorssen isn’t the only freedom fight in his family. Both his mother and father are staunch opponents of the dictatorships that dominate their native land of Venezuela. His father, Thor Halvorssen Hellum, was once imprisoned on false charges for investigating possible drug trafficking activity involving Venezuelan officials. His mother was shot and killed during a protest against the Hugo Chavez regime. More recently Halvorssen has seen one of his cousins imprisoned in Venezuela for his activities against the government.

The Daily Risks Of A Fighter

The president of the Human Rights Foundation isn’t in a particularly comfortable position. Everyday he risks actual danger to his person and well being. An example of the immense sacrifices of Halvorssen is the time he was arrested in Vietnam. After interviewing the head of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, Thich Quang Do, he was placed under arrest and imprisoned. Fortunately Halvorssen thought quickly and told the authorities he was simply converting to Buddhism. While he managed to escape a gloom fate this is a reality he must live with everyday. He understands that his work may some day end in a tragic fashion but he continues to stand up for human rights.

@Social Media: Facebook.com/thorhalvorssen/

Human Rights Fishermen Now Doing Well in San Francisco

According to an AP story, two fishermen who claim that they had been held against their will aboard Honolulu-based fishing vessels are now living in San Francisco using emergency visas designed for those who have been victims of human trafficking. The fishermen have also filed a lawsuit against their former employer saying that they were forced to work 20 hour shifts without the proper equipment, pee in buckets and sleep where bed bugs could cause running sores on their bodies. The two men say that they signed the contract in Honolulu believing that they would be well treated and be able to leave the boat whenever they chose. The two claim that they were held aboard the board against their will in a move that their lawyer compares to slavery.
Earlier this year, the AP investigated many such claims involving 140 boats where workers claim to make less than 70 cents an hour. As a reaction to the criticism, the Hawaii Longline Association has created a new contract. Owners wanting to sell their fish at seafood auctions beginning on October 1. By signing the contract, workers acknowledge that they understand that they will be living on boats for up to one year while their passports are held by the ship’s owners.
Currently, owners do not have to provide basic rights to their workers. Many human rights advocates are calling on Congress to rectify the situation so that these workers are treated like all workers in the United States.
Today, the two fishermen are doing well. They do, however, avoid Fisherman’s Wharf. Both men are employed by a liquor store. After completing their first job, one man goes on to drive a car for hire while the other man takes inventory at a large department store.
The men say that they like their new life. They admit to being scared of their previous boss saying that they want to avoid him. They say that the reason for their lawsuit is to bring people’s attention to this problem believing that most people are not even aware that the problem is going on today in America.