Shock: Walmart, Costco Using Slave Labor – ‘Work For No Pay Under Threat of Extreme Violence’
A six-month investigation by The Guardian has found that slaves are “forced to work for no pay for years at a time under threat of extreme violence” and are “being used in Asia in the production of seafood sold” by major US and European supermarkets.
The Guardian reports that “large numbers of men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats” are a key part of the production of the shrimp being sold in major supermarkets, including Walmart, Costco, Tesco, and Carrefour.
Speaking to men that managed to escape the boats, The Guardian reports that the migrant workers have to endure “horrific conditions, including 20-hour shifts, regular beatings, torture, and execution style killings.”
One group of 15 migrant workers recalled how they paid a broker to help them find work in a Thai factory. Instead, they were “sold” to boat captains for as little as 250 euros per person.
One of these men, Vuthy, says “I thought I was going to die. They kept me chained up, they didn’t care about me or give me any food. They sold us like animals, but we are not animals – we are human beings.”
Another former slave said he saw as many as 20 other slaves killed in front of him, “one of whom was tied, limb by limb, to the bows of four boats and pulled apart at sea.”
Another former victim said “we’d get beaten even if we worked hard. All the Burmese, even on all the other boats, were trafficked. There were so many of us it would be impossible to count them all.”
Meanwhile, CP Foods, the company responsible for the production of the shrimp sold at major outlets and calls itself “the kitchen of the world,” brings in about $33 billion in revenue per year.
Bob Miller, the UK Managing Director of CP Foods, said “we’re not here to defend what is going on. We know there’s issues with regard to the material that comes into port, but to what extent that is, we just don’t have visibility.”
Aidan McQuade, the director of Anti-Slavery International, put’s it more bluntly than that, saying “if you buy prawns or shrimp from Thailand, you will be buying the produce of slave labor.”