Forced Labor in the Seafood Industry – The New York Times

As he paused in front of a seafood freezer, with its festively labeled bags of frozen shrimp, Mr. Lorr discussed the many ethical quandaries involving seafood, which Mr. Lorr saw firsthand, reporting from docks in Thailand.

Mr. Lorr interviewed immigrants from Burma, some of them former prisoners forced to toil unpaid on fishing boats. One worker, identified in the book as Tun-Lin, recalled watching his best friend beaten and tossed overboard when he became delirious from exhaustion. Others were whipped with stingray tails.

But there is not much that Americans can do as consumers to improve working conditions abroad, Mr. Lorr said.

“A boycott sounds compelling, but because of the volume and complexity of the supply chain, it’s overly simplistic,” he said. “There are so many good actors caught up with bad actors. Also, you boycott Thailand, or any country, and market pressures lead to the same problems cropping up somewhere else.”

Alex Williams The Ugly (and Glorious) Truth About American Supermarkets NYTIMES