Food manufacturer Nestlé had asked NGO Verité to investigate the working conditions in the Thai fish industry and some nasty findings have now surfaced.
Human trafficking and child labour
Among other things, Verité's report mentions forced labour, human trafficking and child labour, while some fishermen are apparently sold to fisher boat captains. Nestlé immediately said it would do everything in its power to improve the situation in Thailand.
"Nestle is committed to eliminating forced labor in our seafood supply chain in Thailand, working alongside other stakeholders to tackle this serious and complex issue," Magdi Batato, Nestlé's executive vice president of operations, said in a statement. “This will be neither a quick nor an easy endeavor, but we look forward to making significant progress in the months ahead.”
Nestlé will use the same approach as it used in the chocolate industry, where it also had to endure criticism on the working conditions in the past. Ever since 2001, it and other chocolate manufacturers have struck a deal to improve the situation and the Fair Labor Association monitors the situation since 2012.
The Thai government says these are isolated issues and will send its own teams to investigate the reported malpractices.