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Light shed on the global fishing industry
September 23, 2015
Photo courtesy Pikul Noorod/Shutterstock
Photo courtesy Pikul Noorod | Shutterstock

In the fight against human trafficking and slavery, journalists have lately been shedding a glaring spotlight on the abuses and practices surrounding the global fishing industry and trade. What happens in one region does not exist there alone. It spreads across oceans and continents, making so many more people culpable and unwitting participants in the cruelty.

Last year, The Guardian brought attention to shrimp supplier CP Foods, which sells shrimp tainted by slavery to suppliers including Costco, Wal-Mart, Carrefour, and Tesco.

This year, an Associated Press investigation broke serious ground in detailing how people in South and South East Asia had been tricked and coerced into slave conditions on fishing boats, and the investigation followed the seafood caught on those boats, tracing it on through the supply chain to major grocers, restaurants, and even pet food suppliers throughout the U.S. and Europe.

On their list of suppliers linked to slavery, they found:

  • Wal-Mart
  • Sysco
  • Kroger
  • Albertsons
  • Safeway
  • Fancy Feast
  • Meow Mix
  • IAMS

As the investigators noted, it is difficult to trace whether any particular package contains seafood linked to slavery, it is also true that the tainted seafood is pervasive. As consumers, we need to demand clearer shipping pathways, more infomation about seafood origins, refuse to buy seafood from known culprits, and we must be very wary about cheap cuts of fish and shrimp. We may save a few cents on our dollar, but that price is being paid somewhere else with someone else’s livelihood and life.

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