Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Re “Slavery and the Shrimp on Your Plate”

The State Department is to be congratulated for sending a strong message to the Thai government that it must end slavery in its seafood industry. Even allies must learn that turning a blind eye to human trafficking has costs and consequences.
But you are also right that this does not let the businesses that import this tainted seafood, or the consumers who buy it, off the hook. Good corporate intentions are worthless unless contracts are terminated when abuse is exposed. Concerned consumers must make clear that they won’t buy food caught by slaves and won’t spend money with stores that think they will.
These efforts must be coupled with support for those grass-roots organizations already working to free these modern slaves and help them recover from the abuses they have suffered. But this won’t work without concerted efforts to tackle the lack of opportunity that forced them into the hands of the trafficking gangs in the first place.
London, June 23, 2014
The writer is chief executive of the Freedom Fund,  a private donor fund dedicated to ending slavery.

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