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Will the EU import Myanmar’s slavery-tainted shrimp?

  • Published on
    November 13, 2019
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Forced Labor, Supply Chain
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Forced labor in the fishing industry has made significant headlines over the years. The first place that might come to mind is Thailand, but abuses in neighboring Myanmar have received less attention despite evidence of exploitation.

Now, as Myanmar’s seafood industry begins to look to export markets, including the European Union, there’s a risk that shrimp caught using forced labor could end up on plates across Europe.

Between September and May up to 50,000 men work to catch around 10,000 tonnes of fish and shrimp, and workers report harsh conditions.

The Guardian recently spoke with workers in Myanmar’s seafood industry:

We spoke with raft workers in five communities in the Irrawaddy Delta as they waited ashore for the weather to calm. They told us about physical confinement on the rafts for months at a time and excessive working hours, with fishermen working 16 hours, every day, for nine months.

We heard about routine use of violence, including rumours of murder of fishermen by supervisors. The employment conditions of all of the raft fishers that we spoke to fitted the international definition of slavery.

We need to tackle the root causes that make people vulnerable to slavery. Debt is at the core of the system keeping these men enslaved. In countless villages across Myanmar, and around the world, poorer families are mired in debt and driven into exploitative situations.

Foremen on the rafts in the Gulf of Mottama will be paid around $1,000 for their nine months at sea. Loans from village money lenders, who typically charge around 20% interest per month, make up any shortfall. The sums that raft fishermen are promised are often only enough to maintain these high-interest debts, not to pay them off. Every year, they have to submit to continued exploitation at the fisheries.


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Yavor Hadzhiev
Yavor Hadzhiev
4 years ago

Following this individual petition to the EU Parliament, no action was taken. I don’t think that the EU takes slavery in global supply chains seriously.

4 years ago

La pobreza trae todos los males sociales y no le conviene a nadie solo a lo vivos empresarios. El régimen monárquico moderno. Decimos en argentina; el vivo vive del sonso y el sonso de su trabajo. Tener a las poblaciones a las sociedades, a los individuos es hacerlos vulnerables para poder usarlos a sus fines. Señores apunten hacia Gran Bretaña y EEUU ante todo. Un ejemplo el hurto que existe en las islas Malvinas, donde se cobra un canon de pesca y se pesca sin control, y la extracción gas/pet

4 years ago

El régimen de la monarquía liberal última forma monárquica a desaparecer y que debemos trabajar para que ello ocurra más rápido es así y siempre fue así. Los monarcas son el FMI , BM y OMC y los nobles son los más acaparadores empresarios ricos y ayudado por los evangelistas y los servicios de inteligencia de EEUU que se dedican a depredar los recursos naturales de las naciones privatizando, haciendo golpes de estado para torcer el sistema económico a su gusto. DEntro de este marco se producen.

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