Due to low wages in the Philippines, Kuya Ver was willing to take the risk of becoming a seafarer in Taiwan. However, the abuse that he and his crewmates suffered led to a man’s death and almost his own. Now, he is pushing for justice—and you, too, can help stop these cases from happening again. 

I. Becoming a Seafarer in Taiwan

II. A Death Out at Sea

III. Pushing for Justice

What Can We Do?

While OFWs are promised the world and called new heroes by the government, they are one of the most at-risk group of migrant workers. As Kuya Ver’s story has shown, fishers in distant-fishing vessels are vulnerable to extreme abuse by their captains. Since many distant-fishing vessels sail beyond their country’s maritime borders, they are subject to isolation from their authorities and families.

Many state-actors are required to act for this oversight. There needs to be a better way to monitor distant-fishing vessels and protect these fishers.

Fortunately, there is a very simple solution.

Demand free Wi-Fi onboard the ships!

Not only will this provide a much-needed channel for the seafarers to voice their conditions and express their concerns, it will also allow better monitoring of situations on these vessels. Furthermore, free Wi-Fi onboard the ships will also help fishers to connect to their families and proper authorities. Read more about the campaign and help us pledge this demand.

Show your support to the seafarers!

This story was produced in collaboration with BEBESEA as part of our Story Fellowship programme. Throughout April and May 2023, we release one story every Wednesday. Make sure to stay tuned!

Sherry Wang is currently working in a shelter. They conduct various Know Your Rights workshops for migrant workers to help raise awareness of their rights and for them to be able to defend their rights.

Yuji de Torres is a cultural worker from Metro Manila and currently based in Taipei, Taiwan. He co-founded Kiat Kiat projects, a nomadic curatorial initiative. He is currently pursuing his MA in Critical and Curatorial Studies of Contemporary at the National Taipei University of Education.

Erin Abanador is a Filipino illustrator and activist. She is passionate in utilising her art as a means to advocate for the rights of vulnerable groups.

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