ICSFDC News Alerts

Myanmar: Almost every brand of tuna on supermarket shelves shows why modern slavery laws are needed by Kate Nicholl, Miriam Wilhelm and Vikram Bhakoo January 10,2019   |  Source: The Conservation

What is the chance the last tin of tuna you ate was made using slave labour? If it came from Thailand, the odds may be a lot higher than you imagine. We have tracked the journey of tuna from the seas around Thailand to Australian supermarket shelves. This included interviewing more than 50 people, including people entrapped into forced labour. In doing so, we have been able to assess whether brands can say their supply chains are slave-free. We believe just one brand of tinned tuna can confidently claim slavery is not involved in its supply.

Though we cannot name that brand, due to ethical guidelines to ensure our research remains independent of commercial considerations, our results further validate the need for the new Modern Slavery Act, passed by the Australian parliament late last year, to drive companies to address the problem of slavery in international supply chains.

Exploiting migrant workers

Thailand is the world’s top exporter of tuna, and one of the biggest exporters of all fish. Its marine fishing industry is particularly prone to modern slavery due to its size, lack of regulation, extent of illegal operations, and exploitation of migrant workers.

There are more than 50,000 fishing vessels and about 500,000 workers in the industry. Investigations by

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)