Enslaved your seafood? The new database helps retailers fight abuse.

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Enslaving your seafood? The new database could help retailers fight abuse.

The monterey bay aquarium’s seafood watch program, known for its red, yellow and green sustainable seafood ratings, will launch its first seafood line on Thursday. This is a database designed to help corporate seafood buyers assess the risk of dangerous child labor in forced labor, human trafficking and seafood.

A few years later, the tool produced its first new report in the global media confirming that forced labor and human rights abuses remain in Thai fisheries.

The grim situation continues, according to the 134-page human rights watch report. Although the government has promised to crack down on abuses by the majority of migrants in countries such as myanmar and Cambodia – despite pressure from Thailand’s seafood exports to the United States and European countries. Thailand is the world’s fourth-largest exporter of goods.

Workers processed shrimp at a factory in Thailand in 2009.
For American retailers and seafood importers, it is hard to prove slavery in the supply chain. Coastal fishing is often invisible, and the exploitation and abuse of ships comes from very complex social and economic dynamics.

“The company doesn’t know how to solve the problem,” says Sara MacDonald, project manager for Slavic risk tools.

The new seafood watch database took two years to design and assign slave risk ratings for specific fisheries to free Asia and sustainable fisheries partnerships. As with the color code rating of a seafood watch, the seafood slavery risk tool aims to simplify it – a set of criteria to determine whether the fishery can reach critical, high, medium or low risk levels.

For example, a “serious risk” rating means that reliable evidence of forced Labour or child Labour is found in the fishery itself. Taiwan’s fleet of long-winged, jumping and yellowfin tuna has received significant risk ratings. “Low-risk” fisheries, such as Chile’s patagonian toothfish (also known as Chilean sea bass), have good regulatory protection and enforcement, and there is no evidence of industry abuse.

Until recently, most of the discussion about sustainable seafood was about the environment. Overfishing, mangrove destruction, pollution and illegal fishing determine whether seafood is considered to be enjoyed or avoided.

But when reports surfaced in 2014 and 2014, major U.S. retailers, such as the supply chain and the red never restaurant supply chain, used more language by forcing labor harvesting or processing of seafood into wal-mart, kroger, sever and other major U.S. retailers, such as the supply chain and the red never restaurant supply chain, such as publicly committed enterprises and including supplier guidelines that hope to solve problems quickly. Yet meeting these promises has proved difficult. Traceability is not enough. So far, retailers have had few tools to make it easier to determine which fisheries are actually at high risk of human rights violations.

This is the seafood watch and others’ lament.

“These companies know their supply chains are opaque, and they are clearly embarrassed and ashamed to be called out,” said Duncan Jepson, founder of freedom Asia, which focuses on preventing human trafficking. He added that the company’s motivation for using the new seafood watch tool was clear. “From our point of view, the question is, do you want to participate in or reach out to people who are making money from these types of environments?”

Maisie Ganzler is chief strategy and branding officer for BonAppetit management, responsible for the supply chain and procurement standards of food services companies. She says it is difficult for any company to ensure that the products it buys are made without slavery. Distance, language and cultural barriers, and the fact that seafood changes hands over and over again – all make it harder. She said the country’s original national labeling system marked the location of cans of tuna but did not capture the tuna, which also marked the chaos in the waters.

“Then you have a high rate of fraud, and I’m not talking about species fraud,” Mr. Ganzler said. “If you are willing to enslave another person or overwork a worker, are you willing to forge the documents that fish bring? Perhaps these are the most hidden problems in the most remote areas of the world. “.

McDonald’s, a seafood watch, said the data behind the new risk tool came from reliable government and media reports of known violations. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices; The number of days at sea for fishing vessels; And more. The tool also takes into account evidence of forced Labour, human trafficking and child Labour in other sectors of the country, such as forestry, agriculture and aquaculture. It also increases the likelihood that such abuses could occur in fisheries, she said.

Unlike the aquarium’s seafood watch app, the new seafood slavery risk tool does not advise retailers to buy another. Instead, “we said change their practices by working with suppliers, stay, participate and create changes in the industry,” McDonald said. “With the seafood watch, we have a lot of advice on what to buy and what not to buy, but it’s very different from human rights violations, and if you resist or avoid or stop buying it, it will land. You can’t resist it. You have to stay in the sun. It’s the only way to change the situation. ”

But many retailers have begun talking openly about slavery in the seafood industry, and it is unclear how they will address it with their customers. Roger ksafeway, Whole Foods, hy-vee, wal-mart and red lobster have not responded or denied our request for an interview.

“Retailers don’t go out and talk about the fact that there are labor rights issues in the supply chain,” said dick Jones, chief executive of Ocean Outcomes. He likens it to a routine test for e’s retailers. E. coli in ground beef. “They didn’t tell their clients they were in danger, they just did it because it was the right thing to do,” he said.

Other groups are also developing tools to help companies avoid human rights abuses in their supply chains. The risk template for slavery and trafficking is an open source project of the social responsibility alliance to help companies build a socially responsible supply chain. The work safety screen was developed by the sustainable development incubator for seafood.

“The reality is that no company can be 100% certain that there is no slavery in the supply chain,” Ganzler said. “All companies need to work with the government to solve this problem, and it’s a real problem for the government to take action.”

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