Findings of Forced/Child Labor in Shrimp Supply Chains

Government Compliance Tools

Responsible Sourcing Tool

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) “Ending Trafficking in Persons,” requires contractors to the federal government of the United States to take concrete steps to address and prevent human trafficking in their supply chains. With support from the U.S. Department of State Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Verité has developed a suite of tools that provide guidance and assistance to companies with seafood components of their supply chains.

Seafood Alliance for Legality and Traceability (SALT)

The Seafood Alliance for Legality and Traceability (SALT) is a global community of governments, the seafood industry, and non-governmental organizations working together to share ideas and collaborate on solutions for legal and sustainable seafood, with a particular focus on traceability–the ability to track the movement of seafood through supply chains. SALT facilitates learning events for people to connect in-person and encourages online connections with the belief that sharing traceability knowledge will spark creative solutions.

Sweat & Toil: Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking Around the World is a comprehensive resource developed by U.S. Department of Labor documenting child labor and forced labor worldwide. This app fits the information of the International Labor Affairs Bureau’s three flagship reports (above) into one easy to use app.

Five things you can do with this app are:

  1. Check countries’ efforts to eliminate child labor
  2. Find child labor data;
  3. Browse goods (including shrimp) produced with child labor or forced labor;
  4. Review laws and ratifications; and
  5. See what governments can to do end child labor.

Comply Chain: Business Tools for Labor Compliance in Global Supply Chains

Child and forced labor in supply chains present serious and material risks to companies and industries. This app developed by U.S. Department of Labor targets companies and industry groups seeking to develop robust social compliance systems for their global production.

It contains many examples of specific good practices that companies, industry groups, and multi-stakeholder initiatives have put in place in eight areas of social compliance: (1) engaging stakeholders and partners, (2) assessing risks and impacts, (3) developing a code of conduct, (4) communicating and training across the supply chain, (5) monitoring compliance, (6) remediating violations, (7) independent review and (8) reporting performance.

U.S. Department of Labor Reports

The Department of Labor maintains a list of goods and their source countries which it has reason to believe are produced by child labor or forced labor in violation of international standards, as required under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2005 and subsequent reauthorizations.

ILAB released its initial TVPRA List in 2009 and updated it annually through 2014. ILAB now updates and publishes the List every other year, pursuant to changes in the law.

As of September 20, 2018, the List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor comprises 148 goods from 76 countries.

The Department of Labor, in consultation with the Departments of State and Homeland Security, publishes and maintains a list of products and their source countries which it has a reasonable basis to believe are produced by forced or indentured child labor, pursuant to Executive Order 13126. This List is intended to ensure that U.S. federal agencies do not procure goods made by forced or indentured child labor. Under procurement regulations, federal contractors who supply products on the List must certify that they have made a good faith effort to determine whether forced or indentured child labor was used to produce the items supplied.

As of October 3, 2016, the EO List comprises 35 products from 26 countries.

The Department of Labor’s annual Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor focuses on the efforts of certain U.S. trade beneficiary countries and territories to eliminate the worst forms of child labor through legislation, enforcement mechanisms, policies and social programs.

The Trade and Development Act of 2000 requires that countries fulfill commitments to eliminate the worst forms of child labor to be eligible for certain U.S. trade preference programs. It also requires the U.S. Secretary of Labor to issue annual findings on beneficiary country initiatives to implement these commitments.

U.S. Department of Justice Report

Due to ongoing concern in both the executive and legislative branches of the U.S.
government, Congress in March of 2018 directed the Department of Justice to convene an
interagency task force to examine legal and jurisdictional issues related to human trafficking on
fishing vessels in international waters and to make recommendations for executive and legislative
action to address this scourge. The Task Force’s Report to Congress includes aggressive recommendations to combat slavery in seafood supply chains.

U.S. Department of State Report

2020-Trafficking in Persons Report

Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report

June 2020

The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. It is also the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue. It represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it. The U.S. Government uses the TIP Report to engage foreign governments in dialogues to advance anti-trafficking reforms and to combat trafficking and to target resources on prevention, protection and prosecution programs. Worldwide, the report is used by international organizations, foreign governments, and nongovernmental organizations alike as a tool to examine where resources are most needed. Supporting survivors, preventing trafficking, and bringing traffickers to justice are the ultimate goals of the report and of the U.S. government’s anti-trafficking policy.

Tier listings

The Department of State places each country in the Report into one of four tiers. This placement is based not on the size of the country’s problem, but on the extent of governments’ efforts to meet the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking.

While Tier 1 is the highest ranking, it does not mean that a country has no human trafficking problem or that it is doing enough to address the problem. Rather, a Tier 1 ranking indicates that a government has made efforts to address the problem that meet the TVPA’s minimum standards.

Third-Party Reports

Human Trafficking Legal Center

The International Labor Organization estimates that 25 million men, women, and children are held in all forms of forced labor worldwide. Each year, the United States imports up to $144 billion worth of goods made using forced labor. Workers held in forced labor make the goods that we use every day. Whether we realize it or now, we have all contributed to this problem. In 1930, Congress passed the Tariff Act to prohibit the importation of goods made with forced and prison labor into the United States. Learn more in the following video about how the Human Trafficking Legal Center is using this act to create systems change and combat forced labor in global supply chains.

Exploitative Labor Practices in the Global Shrimp Industry 

Prepared by Accenture for Humanity United

May 13, 2013

Provides in-depth analysis of the characteristics and causes of labor abuse in the shrimp industries of Bangladesh and Thailand.  The study explains that at least some of the efficiencies believed to exist with farmed shrimp are due to artificially low labor costs:

“An important factor for the low cost of shrimp is the availability of cheap labor in producer countries.  Farming and processing shrimp is particularly labor-intensive, often only feasible in countries where inexpensive labor is readily available.  This has led to exploitative labor practices in various parts of the supply chain in export countries.”

Tracing the Supply Chain

Accenture

January 15, 2019

Global supply chains: Insights into the Thai seafood sector

International Labour Organization

April 2016

Migrant Child Labor in the Thai Shrimp Industry

Terre des Hommes International Federation

Child Labor Report 2015

Sold to the Sea: Human Trafficking in Thailand’s Fishing Industry

Environmental Justice Federation

May 29, 2013

Trafficking of Fishermen in Thailand

International Organization for Migration

January 14, 2011

Latest News on Forced Labor in Shrimp Supply Chains

Legislation with Strong Measures Addressing Forced Labor in Seafood Supply Chains Passes Senate

Last night, by a 68 to 32 vote, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) was passed in the Senate.  The bipartisan bill, previously known as the Endless Frontier Act, includes a section titled “Trading Consistent with American Values” that improves and increases the federal government’s capacity to prevent the importation of foreign goods produced through forced and child […]

Southern Shrimp Alliance Applauds Introduction of the Illegal Fishing and Forced Labor Prevention Act

This afternoon, Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Representative Garret Graves (R-LA) introduced the Illegal Fishing and Forced Labor Prevention Act, legislation that would strengthen the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), recognize that forced labor constitutes an illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practice, and require traceability of imported seafood equivalent to […]

Southern Shrimp Alliance Opposes Recommendations of COAC’s Forced Labor Working Group

Earlier today, the Southern Shrimp Alliance issued a letter to the Forced Labor Division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Trade Remedy Law Enforcement Directorate (TRLED) expressing support for the agency’s intention to make forced labor a priority trade issue, joining agriculture/quota enforcement; antidumping and countervailing duties; free trade agreements; import safety; intellectual property rights; revenue; and textiles and […]

ITC Report Details Significant Impact of IUU Fishing on U.S. Shrimp Market

Last week, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released an exhaustive report of the agency’s findings following an investigation of Seafood Obtained via Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing: U.S. Imports and Economic Impact on U.S. Commercial Fisheries requested by the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. In its report, the ITC found that seafood harvested through […]