Church Ministries Seek Freedom for “Sea Slaves”

Who are the “sea slaves?” They’re maritime workers duped into service onboard ship under false pretenses. Apparently common in the fishing industry, the employer will extend promises of good wages and working conditions and a limited term of service – promises that evaporate once the vessel hits international waters. And because these ships are serviced on the high seas, they may not return to port for months or years. Church ministries serving seafarers and migrants have come together in an effort called COMPASS (Coalition of Organizations and Ministries Promoting the Abolition of Slavery at Sea) to fight this abuse.  Kari Johnstone, who runs the US State Department office fighting human trafficking, recently visited the Vatican to coordinate with Catholic organizations in this effort; check out Catholics Praised for Coming to the Aid of Slaves at Sea.