Walmart: Slave labour in Shrimp Production

Shrimp was once a luxury food, but today it is available in all supermarkets at a cheap price, but at what cost for the workers and producers? The Guardian UK has undertaken an investigation in Thailand over a six month period and has reported on severe conditions for those working in the industry in Thailand. Their investigation has shown that men are being bought and sold like animals, most foreign workers are sold to a boat for about 300 Euro and are often held under threat of extreme violence for years.1

The world’s largest prawn farmer,Charoen Pokphand (CP) Foods, buys fishmeal that it feeds to farmed shrimp from these slave boats. Men who have escaped these boats have told the Guardian horrific stories of abuse, torture, long working hours and the use of drugs.

Both Penny, part of the REWE group, and Aldi in Germany have admitted that Charoen Pokphand foods supply them with shrimp.2

Wal Mart and other supermarkets announced, upon inquiry by the Guardian, measures to investigate and eradicate these labout conditions.3. The British newspaper reports are not news for the supermarkets. Already in 2009, the UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) published a corresponding report, as reported by the Environmental Justice Foundation in September 2013 of slavery and forced labor on Thai fishing boats.4.


  1. The Guardian: Revealed: Asian slave labor producing products prawns for supermarkets in the UK, U.S. Available at.: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour. Last checked on 16/6/2014 []
  2. Huffington Post. Food scandal to shrimp producers, Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.de/2014/06/15/lebensmittel-skandal-garnelen-aldi-penny-cp-foods_n_5496057.html. Last checked on 16/6/2014 []
  3. The Guardian:. Wal Mart, Tesco and Costco among Retailers responding to revelations of slavery in supply chains prawn Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/walmart-tesco-costco-retailers-respond-prawn-supply-slaves. Last checked on 16/6/2014. []
  4. The Guardian: Globalised Slavery:. How big supermarkets are selling prawns, Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/video/2014/jun/10/slavery-supermarket-supply-trail-prawns-video. Last checked on 16/6/2014. []