Thailand: Investigation finds enslaved migrants & children in shrimp processing factories supplying US & European markets
All components of this story
Author: Margie Mason, Robin McDowell, Martha Mendoza, Esther Htusana, Associated Press
[A]n Associated Press investigation has found shrimp peeled by modern-day slaves is reaching the U.S., Europe and Asia...U.S. customs records show the shrimp made its way into the supply chains of major U.S. food stores and retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kroger, Whole Foods, Dollar General and Petco, along with restaurants such as Red Lobster and Olive Garden. It also entered the supply chains of some of America's best-known seafood brands and pet foods, including Chicken of the Sea and Fancy Feast, which are sold in grocery stores from Safeway and Schnucks to Piggly Wiggly and Albertsons...European and Asian import and export records are confidential, but the Thai companies receiving shrimp tracked by the AP all say they ship to Europe and Asia as well. The businesses that responded condemned the practices that lead to these conditions. Many said they were launching investigations when told their supply chains were linked to people held against their will in sheds like the Gig factory, which sat behind a gate off a busy street, between railroad tracks and a river....After AP brought its findings to dozens of global retailers, Thai Union announced it will bring all shrimp-processing in-house by the end of the year and provide jobs to workers whose factories close as a result...Susan Coppedge, the U.S. State Department's new anti-trafficking ambassador, said problems persist because brokers, boat captains and seafood firms aren't held accountable and victims have no recourse.
Author: Associated Press
Q: How do I know if my shrimp or other seafood is tainted by labor abuses?
A: That's a big part of the problem. Most companies do not make their supply chains public. And even if they did, there are many places for abuses to occur that are not documented or take place far from any type of scrutiny. For example, slaves have been forced to work on boats catching trash fish used for feed at shrimp farms, and migrants have been brought across borders illegally and taken straight to shrimp sheds where they are locked inside and forced to peel. Fishing boats are going farther and farther from shore, sometimes not docking for months or years at a time, creating floating prisons.
Q: What shrimp brands and companies did the AP find linked to tainted supply chains in its investigation?
A: Cape Gourmet; Certifresh; Chef's Net; Chicken of the Sea; Chico; CoCo; Darden (owner of Olive Garden Italian Kitchen, Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze Island Grille, Seasons 52 Fresh Grill, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's Prime Seafood and Yard House); Delicasea; Fancy Feast cat food; Farm Best; Fisherman's Wharf; Winn-Dixie; Fishmarket; Great American; Great Atlantic; Great Catch; Harbor Banks; KPF; Market Basket; Master Catch; Neptune; Portico; Publix; Red Lobster; Royal Tiger; Royal White; Sea Best; Sea Queen; Stater Bros.; Supreme Choice; Tastee Choice; Wal-Mart; Waterfront Bistro; Wellness canned cat food; Whole Catch; Wholey; Xcellent.
Q: AP reporters visited supermarkets chosen at random in all 50 states. Where did they find shrimp linked to tainted supply chains in its investigation?
A: Acme Markets; Albertsons; Aldi; Bi-Lo; Carrs-Safeway; Cash Wise; Crest Foods; Cub Foods; D'Agostino Supermarket; Dan's Supermarket; Dollar General; Edwards Food Giant; Family Dollar; Foodland; Fred Meyer; Giant Eagle; Harris-Teeter; H-E-B; Hy-Vee; Jerry's Foods; Jewel-Osco; Jons International Marketplace; Kroger; Lowes Foods; Mariano's; Market Basket; Marsh Supermarkets; Martin's Super Markets; McDade's Market; Pavilions; Petco; Piggly Wiggly; Price Chopper; Publix; Ralphs; Randall's Food Market; Redner's Warehouse Markets; Russ's Market; Safeway; Save Mart; Schnucks; Shaws; ShopRite; Smart & Final; Sprouts Farmers Market; Stater Bros.; Stop & Shop; Sunshine Foods; Target; Van's Thriftway; Vons; Wal-Mart; Whole Foods; Winn-Dixie.
Australia's three major grocery retailers have admitted stocking seafood from a Thai company accused of using slave labour.
An investigation by the Associated Press has captured evidence of forced labour at a factory outside Bangkok, owned by seafood supplier Thai Union. Some of the workers are children who've said they work under the threat of violence.
Woolworths, Coles and Aldi have all told Fairfax they use Thai Union as a supplier, and have launched investigations…
The world's largest canned-tuna maker, Thai Union Group Plc, said…any migrant labour abuse in the seafood industry was unacceptable.
The statement came after The Associated Press reported that shrimp processed in plants using forced and child labour in Thailand was on the shelves in US stores…
The news comes as Thailand faces pressure from the European Union to clean up in another problem area in the industry -- illegal fishing -- or face a trade ban…
Thai Union's subsidiary Okeanus had terminated its relationship with a supplier it suspected of breaking its code of conduct, the company said in the statement.
Thai Union, which counts Wal-Mart and Costco Wholesale Corp among buyers, said last week it had decided to stop working with external shrimp-processing plants…
- Related stories: Thailand: Investigation finds enslaved migrants & children in shrimp processing factories supplying US & European markets
- Related companies: Costco Thai Union Frozen Walmart