I’ve been asked to comment on the Associated Press investigation of slave-like working conditions in the Asian shrimp-processing industry. It’s an ugly story, with seemingly everyone turning a blind eye to horrendous working conditions, child labor, and forced labor in order to keep the cost of shrimp—our number one seafood import—dirt cheap.
The AP quotes Susan Coppedge, the U.S. State Department’s new anti-trafficking ambassador. Who knew that we even had an anti-trafficking ambassador? But here’s the 2015 Trafficking report.
problems persist because brokers, boat captains and seafood firms aren’t held accountable and victims have no recourse.
“We have told Thailand to improve their anti-trafficking efforts, to increase their prosecutions, to provide services to victims,” she said. She added that American consumers “can speak through their wallets and tell companies: ‘We don’t want to buy things made with slavery.’”
The AP points out
Thailand is not the only source of slave-tainted seafood in the U.S., where nearly 90 percent of shrimp is imported.
The State Department’s annual anti-trafficking reports have tied such seafood to 55 countries on six continents, including major suppliers to the U.S. Earlier this year, the AP uncovered a slave island in Benjina, Indonesia, where hundreds of migra…