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liuzhou

Frozen Shrimp and Slavery

42 posts in this topic

Sorry, I'm not following the logic here. Yes, there is the danger that slavery may be moved elsewhere. However, the idea that if we stop buying shrimp, shrimp will be become overfished to extinction baffles me. If no one buys them, why would anyone overfish them? It's the old "No one goes there any more; It's too busy" argument.

 

 

Or maybe I misunderstood.

I think his point is that if we stop buying farmed shrimp, then the wild shrimp population will be overfished to extinction.

 

As far as frozen shrimp go, I buy only wild-caught these days. But what I'm now wondering about is the dried shrimp I buy for Thai and Vietnamese cooking, since I assume they're farmed; does anyone know if they'd be part of the same supply chain? Or is this strictly a "frozen shrimp for the Western grocery store market" problem?


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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I am sorry if I mis-communicated what I am trying to say.

 

 

Oh! That's OK then! I'm off to buy more shrimp to help the ignorant, uncivilised people of the world mature. 

 

No form of slavery is OK under any circumstance. The point is, the issues involved are very complex and interrelated.

 

Sorry, I'm not following the logic here. Yes, there is the danger that slavery may be moved elsewhere. However, the idea that if we stop buying shrimp, shrimp will be become overfished to extinction baffles me. If no one buys them, why would anyone overfish them? It's the old "No one goes there any more; It's too busy" argument.

 

Or maybe I misunderstood. 

 

Or I mis-communicated. Thailand with close to $50 billion in food exports, $31 billion is to the USA. Of this $31 billion, not all are in shrimps. I would guess (only guessing here) slavery practices are not specifically only exist in shrimp harvesting. Probably in many other food industries, include shrimp farming.

 

Lofty ideals. Who is this "them" of whom you speak? The people supporting and profiting from this are just corporate thugs. As I've said before, they have unapologetically admitted to using slave labour. The only pressure they will respond to is loss of profits. Do you really think they don't know that slavery is immoral or inhumane. They don't care! Money, money, money.

 

"Them" hopefully the politicians and law enforcement entities to actually enforce the laws which they already have on their books, if our government start pressuring them. Boycotting is good, and I am guessing again,  80% of the people here will care less. They want cheap shrimps. So Thailand will lower their price and ship whatever they can't sell here to other countries.

 

I only usually buy live, wild caught prawns. Yes they are tastier, but that is irrelevant.

 

You have done a good thing by posting this topic.

 

dcarch

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if our government start pressuring them.

 

Unfortunately, my country's government is inviting them for tea.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/12/cameron-thai-billionaire-slavery-fishing

 

In other news, Carrefour has announced that they have stopped buying from the company in question.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/12/carrefour-stops-buying-prawns-cp-foods-slavery-revelations

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 Liuzhou

 

Thank you for starting this topic and staying with it with updates, comments, and additional information.  I only hope that the forum participants take some action, even if it's just forwarding the links and info to friends, colleagues, and others that they know.


 ... Shel

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

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I think youtube maybe also a good place to publicize this shameful situation. 

 

dcarch


Edited by dcarch (log)

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 think youtube maybe also a good place to publicize this shameful situation.

 

There are plenty videos on YouTube about this, including the two on this Guardian page.

 

 

The issue essentially boils down to organisational will. If this were a consumer safety issue, you can be sure that the necessary action would be taken quickly and efficiently; I challenge anyone in the retail markets in Europe or the US to deny this fact. After all, giving your customers food poisoning is one of the fastest routes to ruining a brand, losing market share and, ultimately, commercial failure. So do we just accept that we can't do the same to eradicate slavery in our Thai seafood supply? Or do we work together to overcome the obstacles preventing the protection of human rights for those suffering for our food? 

 

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I avoid frozen shrimp from Asia anyway, as I am suspicious of their food handling rules and what other audulterants might be involved; even before this very valid concern about human exploitation.

 

Unfortunately, I'm not that convinced we're being told the whole truth about the safety of LA Gulf shrimp post the BP spill either.

 

There's no shortage of "weasel PR people" on this side of the oceans either.


Edited by weedy (log)

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There's no shortage of "weasel PR people" on this side of the oceans either.

 

And this is equally true of the PR people working for the Non Governmental Organizations which are promoting this story.  I have no idea about the true facts, but I am surprised at the lack of skepticism of this story, as the "Anti-Trafficking" groups have earned a very poor reputation for veracity, and have been caught making up stories such as this out of whole cloth.

 

Very recently, it was conceded that the founder of the Somaly Mam anti-trafficking group in Cambodia -- whom had been highly lauded in Europe and North America, and the recipient of millions of dollars in government and private grants -- invented her own story about having been trafficked as a child, and coached and encouraged numerous "victims" to testify to their own false trafficking stories.  

 

While this proves nothing about the practices of the shrimp meal producers, it does prove that the NGO's themselves are quite capable of their own exploitation.  Stories like these trade on stereotypes of Asians by Westerners which have existed for ages.  I am not a consumer of frozen shrimp, but I think that more investigation is in order before jumping to conclusions.

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I am surprised at the lack of skepticism of this story

 

I'm all in favour of scepticism, but are you really suggesting that the slavery stories aren't true?

 

The Somaly Mam case is utterly irrelevant to this issue.

 

CP Foods have admitted to knowing about it, the Thai authorities have admitted to knowing about it, Tesco, the world's second largest retailer, have admitted to knowing about it (but have declined to stop selling the product, unlike Carrefour) .

 

It would be pretty dumb PR for Tesco to admit to something so outrageous if the company had any inkling that it was just NGOs stirring up trouble. Tesco ain't that stupid. Nasty perhaps, but not stupid.

 

 

Stories like these trade on stereotypes of Asians by Westerners which have existed for ages.

 

The 'stories' are just as well known in Asia. Why do you think it is western stereotypes?


Edited by liuzhou (log)

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I appreciate learning about this from Liuzhou.  I am a consumer of frozen shrimp and this is distressing, if true.

 

If nothing else, I have begun to look at the county of origin labels on the packaging.

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Where I live the only option is Walmart for (frozen) shrimp unless you want to buy the previously frozen stuff at Safeway, which no doubt is the same.

So is the only option not to buy shrimp at all?

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Where I live the only option is Walmart for (frozen) shrimp unless you want to buy the previously frozen stuff at Safeway, which no doubt is the same.

So is the only option not to buy shrimp at all?

 

What a shame that your choices are so limited.

 

If eating frozen shrimp is more important to you than human rights and environmental concerns, then keep buying frozen shrimp.

 

Maybe you can find another source for frozen shrimp and have them shipped to you.  It' may not be an easy solution, or a cheap solution, but sometimes taking a stand requires effort and a little sacrifice.


 ... Shel

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

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Where I live the only option is Walmart for (frozen) shrimp unless you want to buy the previously frozen stuff at Safeway, which no doubt is the same.

So is the only option not to buy shrimp at all?

No, you can mail-order from various companies selling US wild-caught shrimp.

 

You can also look very carefully at the frozen stuff at Safeway, etc--some wild-caught US landed frozen shrimp is indeed available at mass market retailers.  Five-pound "block" peeled, frozen wild-caught shrimp are sold all over the country.  

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I'm all in favour of scepticism, but are you really suggesting that the slavery stories aren't true?

 

The Somaly Mam case is utterly irrelevant to this issue.

 

CP Foods have admitted to knowing about it, the Thai authorities have admitted to knowing about it, Tesco, the world's second largest retailer, have admitted to knowing about it (but have declined to stop selling the product, unlike Carrefour) .

 

It would be pretty dumb PR for Tesco to admit to something so outrageous if the company had any inkling that it was just NGOs stirring up trouble. Tesco ain't that stupid. Nasty perhaps, but not stupid.

 

 

The 'stories' are just as well known in Asia. Why do you think it is western stereotypes?

 

I am not suggesting that all of the slavery stories are untrue -- I have no way of knowing -- but I am absolutely suggesting that a good many of these stories have been debunked and objectively proven to be untrue, after having been uncritically accepted as fact by the Western press for many years.  The Somaly Mam case -- and others like it -- is relevant, because it demonstrates both the uncritical gullibility of the Western Press, as well as the capacity of "anti-trafficking" NGOs to successfully fabricate stories of trafficking which did not exist, as well as their willingness to exploit the local population to ensure continued funding.  In my opinion, there is sufficient reason to view the report with a skeptical eye in light of these precedents, and not to accept the report as fact without further inquiry.  

 

Western -- particularly English -- stereotypes of Asians as godless slavers have existed since before Kipling, and used as a convenient excuse by Europeans to colonize and exploit Asia in an attempt to civilize it and its people.  Orwell's stories about his time in Colonial Burma provide an excellent and first hand record of this. The fact that these trafficking stories -- including the ones we now know are fake -- are so readily believed by Westerners on so little evidence, is in my mind a function of these stereotypes.  Incidentally, I think the scientifically debunked Western fear mongering over Monosodium Glutamate is grounded in the same sorts of prejudices.


Edited by IEATRIO (log)

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The Somaly Mam case -- and others like it -- is relevant, because it demonstrates both the uncritical gullibility of the Western Press, as well as the capacity of "anti-trafficking" NGOs to successfully fabricate stories of trafficking which did not exist, as well as their willingness to exploit the local population to ensure continued funding. In my opinion, there is sufficient reason to view the report with a skeptical eye in light of these precedents, and not to accept the report as fact without further inquiry.  

 

It gives one example. It does not demonstrate any capacity beyond one.

 

 

including the ones we now know are fake

One. Not 'ones'

 

And it has absolutely nothing to do with shrimps, prawns or any other kind of food.

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Moving on. 

 

Despite the Guardian's exposure of this issue, there have been complaints about its food page editors' double standards posting recipes for prawns/shrimp while simultaneously advising people not to eat them. 

 

Here is a good succinct summary. The Monbiot link is well worth following, too.


Edited by liuzhou (log)

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