Most Thai fishing boats operating in the South China Sea are dependent on migrant labor. But many of those vessels are essentially floating slave ships in which migrant workers are forced into a kind of debt bondage from which they cannot escape.
Journalist Ian Urbina covered this issue for years as a reporter for the New York Times. He reported from land and sea to offer a first hand account of both the conditions on these ships and the broader economic, political and environmental forces that propel slavery on fishing boats in the South China Sea.
Ian Urbina is on the podcast today to discuss his reporting on this issue, which is included in his new book the Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier. We kick off discussing the plight of these debt-bonded laborers before having a broader conversation about the issue of slavery at sea.