China | Human Rights Abuses and Risks

Last Updated: July 2023

EVIDENCE | Forced labor, child labor, and/or human trafficking in seafood

Source Details
U.S. Department of Labor
2022 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor
Evidence of forced labor in fish goods.
U.S. Department of Labor
2021 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor
Not profiled in report
U.S. Department of State
2022 Trafficking in Persons Report
Evidence of trafficking in the fishing sector, including forced labor aboard fishing vessels operating worldwide in the PRC’s distant water fleet. There is evidence of contract discrepancies, excessive working hours, degrading living conditions, verbal and physical abuse, denial of access to healthcare, restricted communication, document retention, arbitrary garnishing or nonpayment of wages, and other forced labor indicators, while being forced to remain at sea for months or years at a time
Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
Seafood Social Risk Tool Profile
No country risk profile available
Additional civil society organization reports documenting human rights abuses:
2022, Environmental Justice Foundation, The Ever-Widening Net: Mapping the scale, nature and corporate structures of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by the Chinese distant-water fleet


Risk Factor​ Status Details
Flag of Convenience
(International Transport Workers Federation)
No Flags of Convenience are connected to the occurrence of human trafficking and forced labor in fishing. Vessels registered to Flag of Convenience states may lack a legitimate connection to the flag state and may be subject to less rigorous management and oversight by the flag state.
Active yellow or red card for failing to tackle illegal fishing
(European Union)
No The European Union gives countries yellow and red cards for failing in their requirements under international law to take action against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. There is evidence linking IUU fishing to an increased risk of human trafficking and forced labor on board fishing vessels.
Failure to ratify key treaties and international labor conventions

Ratifying key treaties and international labor conventions indicates a country’s commitment to uphold international standards.

  • Port State Measures Agreement: Not ratified
  • ILO C188 Work in Fishing Convention: Not ratified
  • ILO Core Labor Conventions: Not ratified 3 of 10
    • C087 - Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention
    • C098 - Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention
    • C187 - Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention