Seafood Industry Demands Full Accounting of Worker Mistreatment Allegations in Bangladesh and Thailand

NFI Calls on Local Authorities to Investigate, Says Details of Alleged Abuses in Thailand are Incomplete

April 24, 2008 Washington Responding to allegations of mistreatment of workers and children at shrimp processing facilities in Thailand and Bangladesh, The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) affirmed its no tolerance policy for any mistreatment of workers or other human rights abuses and called for a complete and open investigation.

Weve reached out to the governments of Thailand and Bangladesh, as well as our own State Department, said NFI President John Connelly. We made it clear to those governments we take these accusations seriously and insist they investigate the claims and provide a public accounting of their findings. We also spoke with the State Departments Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and suggested they partner with the seafood community to ensure any promised improvements are implemented.

The Solidarity Center, the AFL-CIO-backed authors of the report that alleged the abuses, cited issues in Bangladesh and Thailand. But the report fails to provide much needed detail surrounding the alleged Thai infractions.

The report names importers and retailers but no specific processing plants in Thailand. Officials there will need that information to complete a full investigation. We call on The Center to provide specifics not just broad accusations, said Connelly.

The seafood community is guided by globally accepted standards when it comes to harvesting and processing. And shrimp importers agree there is no room for substandard working conditions or abusive labor practices in the industry.

For more than 60 years, the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) and its members have provided American families with the variety of sustainable seafood essential to a healthy diet. For more information visit: www.AboutSeafood.com.

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Contact Information

Gavin Gibbons

(703) 752-8891

ggibbons@nfi.org