Foreign fishermen settle human trafficking suit

Industry officials say a human trafficking lawsuit settled between two Indonesian fishermen and an American boat owner will not impact nearly 800 other foreign fishermen in Hawaii's fleet who are banned from leaving boats when the vessels reach shore.

The 130 commercial fishing boats based in Honolulu rely almost entirely on foreign crews from impoverished Southeast Asian and Pacific countries who have no legal standing.

An Associated Press investigation into the Hawaiian fleet found men living in squalor.

Two Indonesian fishermen ran away from their boat in 2009 when it was unloading at San Francisco.

Eventually, federal officials issued each of them a special visa designated for victims of human trafficking, and in 2015 they sued the boat owner, claiming they were denied medical treatment. The settlement was disclosed Wednesday.