Human Rights: Shrimp

Human beings consume over 3.5 million tons of shrimp each year across the world.

And there's a good chance that the shrimp cocktail you eat may have been provided to you through slavery.

In Thailand, thousands of men are captured and enslaved on shrimp boats.  They are often tortured, abused and forced to work for over 20 hours a day. Some of these workers have also been executed and their bodies thrown overboard.

Shrimp harvested by these "ghost ships" are found in stores all over the world, including Walmart, Costco and Aldi.

A Burmese migrant family sorts shrimp in Thailand.  ChiangraI Times.
It is the poor that fall victim to human trafficking.  And Thailand is notorious for its human rights violations in regard to slavery and human trafficking.

  • Over 90% of the people forced into the shrimp industry in Thailand are poor people from the neighboring countries of Burma, Malaysia,  Indonesia and Cambodia.
  • Men are often lured into Thailand by promises of jobs, but then are captured and sold onto shrimp boats
  • Slaves on shrimp boats are fed as little as one bowl of rice a day
  • Not all children on shrimp boats know how to swim. And they are not required to have life jackets
  • Men are sold for as little as $300
  • Some of the worst conditions are found int he shrimp processing plants, where children are often forced into sorting the shrimp 
  • Many of the slaves are given methamphetamines in order to keep them working long hours
  • The world's largest shrimp farmer is Charoen Pokphand Foods, based in Thailand.  They make over $33 billion a year in profits and provide fishmeal used by shrimp farmers
  • 90% of the shrimp eaten by Americans is imported from other countries, mainly Thailand


Revealed: Asian slave labour producing prawns for supermarkets in US, UK
Thailand’s Despicable Human Trafficking Record
Why Slave Labor Still Plagues The Global Food System
Did a Slave Process the Shrimp in Your Scampi?