Some importers of seafood in the UK and North America say they feel in the dark about human trafficking in the fishing sector. A lot has been said in the media this year about overexploitation in fleets and in the processing sector in countries as diverse as New Zealand and Thailand.
Good news out of Thailand on November 11 2013 when eight Thai seafood organizations made a public commitment to stamp out illegal labor in Thai seafood supply chains. They formed a new organization called the Thai Fishery Producers Coalition for the purpose. See John Sackton’s November 11 story on Seafood.com “Thai Fishery Producers Coalition leads fishery supply chain in declaration to stop illegal labor”.
This adds momentum to the September 17 announcement about a new program to promote Good Labour Practices (GLP) in the Thai fisheries industry hosted by the International Labour Office. The program will share guidelines and training in the Thai seafood processing sector. See http://www.ilo.org/asia/info/
These developments are positive and bring new opportunities to seafood companies to steadily improve labour conditions. However they do not target the part of the industry where trafficking risks are highest. The poorest labour practices are believed to occur nearer to the front-end of commodity production for example at-sea, in trans-shipping and in primary processing.
Nobody can trace supplies yet all the way through this zone. Verification is another issue. The goal of the Labor-Safe Screen is to take care of both in a single step.
The Sustainability Incubator is looking for seafood companies to participate in an industry advisory group to inform the development of the Labor-Safe Screen. It’s a tough issue to take on. Our position is that industry self-regulation on this issue will have the biggest impact and potentially enormous impact. We’d like to welcome seafood companies that need to act sooner than later.
The project will generate knowledge about the social conditions around seafood supplies and export products from Thailand. Impacts can be improved. Do you have ideas? Are you seeking advice for what to do?
This is a confidential and voluntary opportunity. Please consider joining us to build a Labor-Safe Screen that helps seafood companies to manage supplies better for positive impact.
Please contact Katrina at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.