Investigations into human rights abuses in the seafood industry
This collection of videos captured by the Environmental Justice Foundation, Greenpeace International, and Human Rights Watch depict some of the worst cases of human and labor rights abuses found in seafood supply chains.
Fish or fishing is mentioned in association with forced labor in 49 countries according to the 2019 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.
Investigating abuses in seafood are not just a focus of governments - In recent years journalists, researchers, and non-governmental organizations.
The New York Times: A six-part series, “The Outlaw Ocean” covered various abuses occurring in international waters, including human rights abuses and murder on vessels, illegal fishing, and unethical recruitment practices (Urbina 2015)
The Guardian: In 2014, The Guardian published the findings from a six-month investigation which established that large numbers of men bought, sold, and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand were integral to the production of shrimp sold in supermarkets around the world (Hodal et al. 2014).
Associated Press (AP): The AP conducted a yearlong investigation that exposed how seafood linked to forced labor, human trafficking, and other abuses occurring on Thai vessels in Indonesia can enter the supply chains of major U.S. grocery stores (McDowell et al. 2015). The AP’s reporting for this and other stories earned them a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2016.
The Guardian: A year-long investigation into the Irish prawn and whitefish sector confirmed that labor abuses occur outside of Southeast Asian fishing industries. The investigation uncovered undocumented Ghanaian, Filipino, Egyptian and Indian fishermen manning boats in ports from Cork to Galway (Lawrence et al. 2015).
AP: A six-month AP investigation into Hawaii’s fishing fleet uncovered unfair labor practices and some instances of human trafficking due to a legal loophole excluding certain fishing vessels from federal law (Mendoza and Mason 2016).
AP: In the fall of 2016, AP reported that despite reports of improvement, Thailand fell short in its efforts to compensate victims of slavery and shift shrimp processing from peeling sheds to their own facilities (Mendoza 2016).