FOUL CATCH

Slavery in Food Giant’s Supply Chain

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A worker moves baskets of fish at the Talay Thai fish and seafood wholesale market in Mahachai, Samut Sakhon Province, Thailand. The European Union threatened to ban imports of seafood from Thailand because of concerns about unlawful fishing, a step that would hit trade of more than 600 million euros ($641 million) a year.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Nestlé’s admission of violations at its Thai suppliers could be a harbinger of change to the industry, affecting labor conditions and fish prices globally.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Switzerland-headquartered Nestlé is the world’s largest food company and competes with Unilever, Danone and Mondelez International.
    • Nestlé sent a team from the human rights organization Verité to uncover details of how its Thai fish supply chain works.
    • The European Union threatened Thailand’s fisheries sector in April with an import ban if illegal fishing and slave labor wasn’t eliminated.
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  • Audio

    Audio

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Nestlé probably expected unpleasant facts when it commissioned a human rights study of its seafood supply chain in Thailand. But the Swiss food and beverage giant must have been shocked by what inspectors say they found — including grim evidence of “forced labor, human trafficking, and child labor.”

“Sometimes the net is too heavy and workers get pulled into the water and just disappear,” the study quoted one fishing vessel worker as saying. “When someone dies, he gets thrown into the water.”

Managers also told inspectors that they only paid workers after a year onboard the boats.

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