Left Menu
Development News Edition

Canned tuna putting workers at risk of exploitation, slavery

Devdiscourse News DeskReuters | London | Updated: 03-06-2019 16:04 IST | Created: 03-06-2019 15:29 IST
Canned tuna putting workers at risk of exploitation, slavery
About 80% of the world's biggest canned tuna brands do not know who caught their fish, putting workers in the industry at risk of exploitation and slavery. Image Credit: Pixabay

About 80% of the world's biggest canned tuna brands do not know who caught their fish, putting workers in the industry at risk of exploitation and slavery, a human rights group said on Monday.

Of 35 tuna companies and supermarkets surveyed by the UK-based Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), only 20% detailed their supply chains in the Pacific region, which provides 60% of the world's tuna, according to the World Bank. The report said only seven companies, including Bumble Bee Foods, Aldi Nord and Thai Union, the world's largest canned tuna company, disclosed their entire supply chains.

Businesses are under increased pressure from both governments and consumers to disclose what actions they are taking to ensure their supply chains are free from slavery. "Modern slavery is endemic in the fishing industry, where the tuna supply chain is remote, complex and opaque," said BHRRC's Pacific researcher Amy Sinclair.

"Yet despite years of shocking abuses being exposed, tuna companies are taking little action to protect workers," she said in a statement. As the demand for tuna grows - an industry worth about $42 billion - so does the risk of human rights abuses including labour exploitation, slavery and trafficking, BHRRC said.

Thailand's multibillion-dollar seafood sector has come under fire in recent years after several investigations showed widespread slavery, trafficking and violence on fishing boats and in onshore food processing factories. Thai Union Group PCL in 2016 pledged to tackle potential labour abuse and overfishing, seeking to clean up the Thai seafood industry.

BHRRC said most companies had failed to enforce their modern slavery policies throughout their supply chains, such as ensuring all subcontractors complied with their policies, or providing a complaints system to all workers down the chain. British supermarket Tesco, and American chains Walmart and Costco were among 15 companies that failed to respond to the survey conducted by BHRRC between last November and January.

Tesco told the Thomson Reuters Foundation it did not intend to hide anything and had missed the BHRRC survey. "We are committed to being transparent about our actions to tackle modern slavery in our supply chains," a Tesco spokeswoman said in emailed comments.

Tesco and Walmart said they were part of the Seafood Task Force, a coalition of businesses and charities that regularly audits fishing vessels to prevent human rights abuses. "Our approach to helping combat forced labour is to look at the root cause that goes across sectors. We appreciate the increasing need for transparency," a Walmart spokeswoman said.

Costco did not respond to requests for comment. More than 40 million people are estimated to be trapped as slaves in forced labour and forced marriages, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and human rights group Walk Free Foundation.

Nearly 25 million work in factories, on construction sites, farms, fishing boats and as domestic or sex workers, says ILO.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

5G will be the key driving force for COVID-19 recovery: Here's how?

... ...

Canada’s COVID-19 pitfalls highlight need for integrated health information system

In the globalized world of today where outbreaks can spread far and wide within a matter of days, a global-level integrated health information system is ideal but Canadas provincial barriers show that the country lags much behind in deployi...

Pandemic must be impetus, not obstacle, for clean water access

To make matters worse, there are suspicions that the inadequacy of wastewater treatment methods in California, the rest of the USA, and indeed around the world may help to propagate the disease even more widely. ...

3D printing and the future of manufacturing post COVID-19

The on-demand, customizable, and localized manufacturing of product components facilitated by 3D printing has the potential to redefine manufacturing but there are certain technical, mechanical, and legal limitations that, unless ...

Videos

Latest News

Kozhikode plane crash: 85 injured passengers discharged from hospitals, says AI Express

Air India Express said on Wednesday that 85 passengers injured in the plane crash in Kozhikode have been discharged from hospitals after obtaining complete fitness. The Air India Express flight from Dubai with 190 people, including a six-me...

Karnataka Minister terms violence in Bengaluru as 'planned riot', alleges SDPI's role

Karnataka Minister CT Ravi on Wednesday termed the violence in Bengaluru as a planned riot and alleged that the Social Democratic Party of India SDPI is behind the incident that claimed 3 lives. I think it was a planned riot. Within an hour...

Stimulus bets lift FTSE 100 after record collapse in output

Londons FTSE 100 rose on Wednesday as investors counted on the central bank to further loosen monetary policy after data showed the economy entered a recession in the second quarter with a record 20 plunge in output. The export-laden FTSE 1...

Scientists find genes that help cancer cells to penetrate brain

In an attempt to create new methods for cancer diagnosis and treatment, an international team of scientists, including a researcher from Sechenov University, reviewed scientific articles on proteins and genes encoding them that help cancer ...

Give Feedback