Findings of Forced/Child Labor in Shrimp Supply Chains

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.

Department of Labor Apps

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 State Report

Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report

June 2018

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


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

Department of Labor Includes Seafood Harvested from Distant-Water Fishing Fleets in List of Goods Produced by Forced Labor

Pursuant to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (“TVPRA”), each year, the Bureau of International Labor Affairs of the U.S. Department of Labor (“ILAB”) researches and identifies goods produced through forced and/or child labor. The biennial lists published by ILAB provide notice to U.S. importers, distributors, retailers, and consumers as to where risks of slave and child labor exist in particular […]

GAO Report Highlights Weaknesses in CBP’s Enforcement of Ban on Goods Produced through Slave and Child Labor

On Thursday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report following its year-long review of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) enforcement of a law – section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. § 1337) – that prohibits the importation of goods produced through convict, forced, slave, or child labor. The Committee on Natural Resource of […]

Southern Shrimp Alliance Asks the Department of Labor to Close Loopholes in the Identification of Seafood Produced through Slave Labor

Yesterday, in response to a request for information and invitation to comment from the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, Department of Labor (“ILAB”), the Southern Shrimp Alliance asked the agency to close loopholes that exempt entire categories of seafood from being identified as produced through child or forced labor. Since 2009, ILAB has published a list of goods produced through […]

Watch SSA’s hearing testimony

Nathan Rickard testified against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing on behalf of the Southern Shrimp Alliance at a hearing before the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife subcommittee of House Natural Resources Committee on November 14. His testimony starts at 1:00:23 at the video found at Read SSA’s written testimony here: Testimony before Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Oversight […]