June 29, 2014
Walmart, Costco still using Slave Labor
June 29, 2014. Thailand. Americans have long known that Walmart and other discount stores sell products made by slaves. And illustrating a national hypocrisy, the American people have no problem with that. Now, Costco has been added to the list of slave-using corporations. This time, the slaves are found in Thailand, toiling day and night against their will for no pay to provide the American people and the world all the cheap shrimp they can eat.
Slavery is alive and well around the world. Image courtesy of GlobalSlaveryIndex.org.
For the record, American corporations like Walmart, Costco, Nike, Adidas, Converse, Apple, 7-Eleven, Foot Locker, and a host of other multi-national companies don’t directly enslave people, except for 7-Eleven which was actually caught in the act in 2013. Instead, these Wall Street behemoths either purchase the products they sell from third world manufacturers, or manufacture their own merchandise by subcontracting the work out to third world manufacturers. Time and time again, many of these subcontractors are caught using slaves to produce the cheap items filling American store shelves.
Cheap shrimp and slave labor
A report last week from our friends at Natural News exposed a horrifying discovery writing, ‘Some of the most popular American corporations are importing shrimp at super-cheap prices from Thailand, where migrant workers are in slavery, like in Nazi Germany, being tortured while they work for no pay 20 hours a day.’
The independent news outlet pulls no punches when it continues, ‘Now we all see where real advertising revenue is generated – by selling super-cheap shrimp, and we’re talking about FARM-RAISED shrimp that are fed toxic non-edible seafood and processed by tortured slaves. No wonder these huge American corporations can afford to advertise, during prime time, or during the Super Bowl, and have billboards near every major highway exit and full-page/full-color ads on the back page of newspapers.’
The account from Natural News cites a 2013 report from the Environmental Justice Foundation titled, ‘The Hidden Cost: Human Rights Abuses in Thailand’s Shrimp Industry’. Researchers show that Thailand is the world’s largest provider of shrimp, exporting almost 400,000 tons per year to consumers in America, Europe and the rest of Asia.
An excerpt from the report states, ‘Due to a desire to keep costs as low as possible, major exporting companies often subcontract to external pre-processing facilities. These facilities, also referred to as “peeling sheds”, remove the heads, veins and hard shell of shrimp and prepare it for secondary or value-added processing. This pre-processing stage of production is the most labor-intensive and least regulated aspect of an otherwise sophisticated supply chain. This informal nature makes it particularly prone to poor working conditions, breaches of national and international labor standards, child and forced labor, exploitation and abuse.’
An article from only two days ago from Thailand’s Bangkok Post shows that grassroots global pressure and boycotts of Thai shrimp are having a serious and noticeable impact on the country’s slave owners and shrimp processors. In the US alone, shrimp imports from Thailand have been nearly cut in half since 2011.
America is not only the largest importer of shrimp on Earth, but the Thai’s largest shrimp customer. According to export statistics from Thai shrimpers, their percentage of the US shrimp market has rapidly shrunk from 36.2% in 2011, to 27.1% in 2012, 22.1% in 2013, and 19.1% in the first four months of 2014.
The Bangkok newspaper also warned that Thai shrimp exports were shrinking for most of their customers, due in part to bad publicity and grassroots pressure from human rights groups around the world. The account confirms that while imports of Thai shrimp have risen in Germany, South Korea and Hong Kong, they’ve shrunk in North America and the rest of Europe and Southeast Asia.
‘The main cause of shrinking exports is the early mortality syndrome (EMS) which has cut Thai shrimp production since 2012,’ the hometown Bangkok Post reported Friday, ‘Another cause is the negative image of shrimp export sector in the eyes of foreign buyers, due to alleged abuse of foreign workers and human trafficking in the industry. The research centre commented that the human trafficking issue should have only limited impact in shrimp exports and that attempts to handle both negative factors – EMS and the human trafficking – could alleviate the export situation next year.’
Groups like Natural News warn Americans that they are running out of safe suppliers of shrimp, the number one eaten seafood in the US. Domestic Gulf Coast shrimp are still avoided by many Americans due to fears of side effects from the BP oil spill which devastated the region’s shrimping waters. And others are avoiding Pacific shrimp due to their exposure to radiation from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophes that are still poisoning the Pacific Ocean from Japan to North America with radioactive debris and wastewater.
Consumers are advised to avoid all farm raised shrimp and domestic wild shrimp from the Gulf and West coasts. Shrimp is plentiful in the US and wild catches off the coast of America’s northeast are the safest bet. Alaskan shrimp, like all of the state’s seafood, is fiercely protected by industry companies and regulators alike and is also considered safe.
For more information, visit Natural News.
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