Labour exploitation and enslavement of sea workers have caught significant political attention in many Southeast Asian countries in recent years. These human rights violations are complicated by human trafficking syndicates, economic disparities between countries in the region, weak rule of law, inadequate labour inspection and protections, poor access to healthcare, and corruption.
Although some Southeast Asian nations attempt to protect the health and well-being of “everyone” on their soil by introducing health insurance policies, there remain unsolved implementation challenges.
Effectively combating extreme labour exploitation requires a collective effort from all concerned stakeholders, seamless collaboration across countries, and long-term comprehensive mechanisms to prevent further abusive treatments; this is particularly relevant with a highly mobile population like migrant seafarers.
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