Truth About Shrimp Industry And Its Link To Slavery.

Last year, a report by the Guardian revealed the uncomfortable truth about the amount of shrimp sold in Europe, North America, and other parts of the world. This 6-month investigation shed light on wage-theft, slavery, and torture in Thailand and the Far East. United States is currently the biggest importer of prawns, and half of the harvests come from Thailand. The rampant abuses in the Thai shrimp industry were also exposed by the Associated Press. The problem with modern-day slavery is that major markets around the world are simply not doing enough to keep shrimp out of their food system. According to the Associate Press investigation, there have been dozens of arrests by local authorities, but unfortunately, even seizing millions of dollars in prawn seizures hasn’t deterred the US importers.
This year alone, up to 800,000 people were trafficked across US borders, 80 per cent of whom being women and children. The shrimp industry has reportedly generated a profit of $30 billion per year, half of which is made in industrialised countries. The problem partly stems from the high demand for shellfish. It is easy to peel and packaged for stir-frying. However, the process of peeling the shrimp is labour intensive and most workers in the developing countries are often overworked and underpaid.
Although slavery is illegal, it is still happening in many countries including Thailand. The labourers are sold like property and forced to work under terrible conditions. Almost half a million people are thought to be enslaved within Thailand’s borders. Due to Thailand’s major labour shortage in the fishing sector, the need for cheap labour has increased significantly. The EU has already imposed hefty fines on Thai shrimp imports, but it hasn’t gone far enough to completely ban seafood imports. Some major companies such as Walmart have called for a boycott of Thai seafood while others have dismissed the idea, arguing that demand is high. In fact, some companies deny that their shrimp is made from slave labour, until the investigation from Associated Press revealed otherwise.
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