The report, ‘Impossibly Cheap: Abuse & Injustice in Bangladesh’s Shrimp Industry’ lists examples of poor working conditions in the country, which is in the top 10 exporters of shrimp globally. Incidents of health & safety violations, low wages, lack of payment, dangerous working conditions, child labour, verbal abuse, extremely long hours and restriction on Union activity have been recorded.
The report also discusses the huge and fast expansion of the shrimping industry due to a combination of an abundant supply of fresh shrimp and the large global demand for it. This rapid growth is one of the causes of the regulatory gaps. This sector of employment is full of labour & human rights violations, down to the informal nature and transparency in the supply & demand process.
The current legal implications imposed on the shrimping business & its exportation to the UK and US are largely related to food safety, hygiene regulations and consumer health protection, say the EJF. There is little in legislation to protect the labour and human rights of the workers, and the neglect of this area is the reason for the abuses in the supply chain by shrimp bosses.
“Consumers in Europe and the US should be aware of the hidden cost to the impossibly cheap shrimp we consume that involves the brutal treatment of workers. In the 21st century, food produced by forced or bonded labour should not be on our plates” says the director of EJF, Steve Trent. He wants to see stakeholders and the whole of the shrimping industry come together and agree to end the workplace abuse of power. He wants to see a shrimping industry with happy workers who provide an environmentally friendly and equality driven workplace.