Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited (CP Foods) and six alliances have partnered for eight consecutive years, starting in 2016, to establish the Fishermen Life Enhancement Center (FLEC Center) in Songkhla province. Through collaborative efforts have made significant strides in eradicating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices in Songkhla and nearby areas. Their united efforts have resulted in tangible improvements in the living conditions of migrant workers on fishing boats and their families, while simultaneously promoting a sustainable seafood supply chain in Thailand.
As the project continues this year, the focus remains steadfast on safeguarding the rights of children and women, combatting human trafficking and child labor, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the seafood industry.
Over the past eight years, the FLEC Center in Songkhla has successfully integrated the expertise and knowledge of CP Foods and six organizations, including the Fish Marketing Organization Thailand, the Stella Maris Centre for Seafarers Songkhla (Baan Suksan), the Department of Labor Protection and Welfare, the Family Planning Association of Thailand under the Royal Patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, GEPP Sa-Ard (a Thai startup focusing on waste management), and PTT Global Chemical (GC). This alliance project specifically addresses human trafficking, illegal labor, and child labor exploitation in the seafood industry. Through their collaborative efforts, they aim to establish a model that promotes equality and enhances the quality of life for migrant workers in the seafood supply chain across various provinces.
Nattaya Petcharat, a member of the FLEC Center’s committee, highlighted this year’s focus on promoting the rights of migrant women and children in the seafood supply chain, specifically those living in Songkhla province. The objective is to improve their well-being and self-reliance by reducing medical expenses and household costs for migrant families, while actively combating human trafficking. The center has also increased their awareness and knowledge in workplace safety, healthcare, and career development, following the principles of the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. This initiative aligns with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and it adopts the circular economy principle to support migrant workers’ self-reliance and encourage their participation in marine and coastal waste management (Ocean Stewardship).
One of the key missions of the FLEC Center is to promote lifelong learning. The Learning Quarter for Neighboring Migrant Children and Families at the FLEC Center focuses on providing education to migrant children and offering career skills training to women in migrant workers’ families. The center equips migrant children, primarily from Cambodia, with fundamental knowledge in subjects like mathematics, Thai, English, and Cambodian languages, preparing them for basic education in elementary schools alongside Thai students. Additionally, the center provides life skills training, such as growing garden vegetables for household consumption, with the aim of fostering quality, self-reliance, and sustainable development in the lives of migrant children.
Since 2016, more than 268 migrant children living near Songkhla port areas have enrolled in the Thai education system. Currently, there are 34 students studying at Municipal School 1 (Nakhon Nok Road), Muang District, Songkhla Province.
The FLEC Center collaborates with partner organizations to implement the “Waste to Value” project, a crucial component of the “Restore the Ocean” initiative. This innovative project aims to tackle the issue of garbage pollution by promoting effective garbage sorting and providing incentives for the exchange of recyclable waste for essential household items. By doing so, it alleviates the financial burden on migrant families while promoting environmental sustainability.
Furthermore, the center actively participates in the collection of marine debris on International Ocean Clean Up Day, adhering to the guidelines set by Ocean Conservancy. As a result, the Restore the Ocean project has achieved remarkable success, with over 13,000 kilograms of debris collected last year. This significant contribution to the conservation of marine resources is a testament to the center’s dedication and commitment to preserving the health of our oceans.