Slave Labor Lawsuit for Costco Over Farmed Shrimp

by admin on August 25, 2015

Costco, the wholesale retailer giant has allegedly been knowingly getting their shrimp from a company in Thailand that uses forced labor, reports CBS News.

The lawsuit, which was filed in a San Francisco court last Wednesday, cites California state law that corporations must not make false claims regarding their supply chain.

Image Credit: Mike Mozart (Flickr)
Image Credit: Mike Mozart (Flickr)

Derek Howard, the case co-counsel, told CBS MoneyWatch the case was vital for the “education of consumers to make sure they are not being served slavery on a dinner plate.”

Niall McCarthy, a director of the Cotchette, Pitre & McCarthy law firm, said in a statement: “Human suffering cannot be ignored to enhance a company’s economic bottom line […] California consumers are unknowingly supporting slave labor.”

Thai employment lawyers Chaninat and Leeds are experts in employment law in Thailand.

The illegal labor takes place on vessels known as “ghost ships” and is also known as “pirate fishing.” Costco deny knowledge of their connection to such activity. Spokesman Bob Nelson said:

Costco Wholesale has been working with and will continue to work with various stakeholders (including the Thai government, other retailers, and Thai industry) to address the issues that have surfaced. In the meantime, all of our customers know that if they are dissatisfied with any purchase from Costco Wholesale they can return the item for a full refund.”

The Thai fishing industry also made news a few weeks ago, amid reports that voiced concerns regarding the state of commercial fishing in Thailand, some saying that Thai fishing laws are not strict enough and are frequently not properly enforced. This was following a a yellow card from European Union inspectors in April of this year.

Thailand is the third-largest exporter of seafood in the world, with yearly sales estimated at $7.3 billion a year. According to the lawyers for the complainant, the fishing industry in Thailand involves more than 650,000 people, many of whom are working illegally and by force.

For the full story see here.

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