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Labor-Friendly Seafood Initiative 2020

April 9, 2020

The John J. Brunetti Human Trafficking Academy, member of the Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking (CCOAHT), is proud to join the CCOAHT’s Labeling for Lent Campaign for 2020.

What is the Labeling for Lent Campaign?

Labeling for Lent is a national initiative of the Coalition of Catholic Organizations against Human Trafficking (CCOAHT) to urge seafood producers, distributors, and retailors to make public, through product labeling or other means, their efforts to fight human trafficking in their product supply chains. Through labeling and transparency, consumers and customers can make informed, labor-friendly seafood purchases and help combat labor trafficking in the seafood industry.

The United States imports approximately 80% of the seafood we eat.1 However, recent studies have found severe cases of forced labour and human trafficking in the fisheries sector.  Victims often suffer from illness, physical injury, physical and sexual abuse, and even death aboard fishing boats.  Many are forced to work under horrendous conditions aboard vessels for months, years, or even their lifetimes.2

This year the CCOAHT’s Labeling for Lent campaign will focus on an initiative to encourage Sysco to better inform its customers (schools, hospitals, and restaurants) about its efforts to ensure its supply chain is free of forced labor so they can make ethical purchasing decisions.  Full details are available here.

Take Action

Be a responsible consumer and help eradicate human trafficking in the seafood industry. Here is how you can become part of the solution:

  • Download, sign, and mail the postcard to Sysco Corporation.
  • If you are an organization and would like to join the campaign, you can order Labeling for Lent postcards here.
  • Learn how to be an ethical consumer at Seafood Watch.
  • Buy Fair Trade products at your local stores. If unavailable, look for the country of origin on products. Download the Sweat & Toil app on your phone or review this List of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor.
  • Visit Apostleship of the Sea to learn more about mariners.
  • Visit USCCB/MRS’ Anti-Trafficking page to learn about their efforts in the maritime industry.
  • Attend The John J. Brunetti Human Trafficking Academy’s intensive, 5-day training on the topic of labor trafficking domestically and abroad on July 27-31, 2020, at St. Thomas University School of Law.  Details available here.

Educational Materials

  • Social Responsibility in the Fisheries Value Chain: Towards an Integral Approach, Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, The Vatican (download)
  • From Catch to Plate – How Slave Labor Feeds the Seafood Supply Chain (download)
  • Trafficking in the Maritime World (Caritas Internationalis) (download)
  • Labeling for Lent Social Media Graphics (download Graphic 1, Graphic 2 and Graphics 3)

See Freedom

Watch the extraordinary story of how commercial imaging satellite intelligence helped in the rescuing of more than 2,000 slaves captive on remote Indonesian islands.

Video Credit: DigitalGlobe, See Freedom, https://explore.digitalglobe.com/see-freedom.

Seafood from Slaves

Former fishing slave, Myint Naing, returns home after being enslaved for 22 years.

Video Credit:  Associated Press, Tortured Fish Slave Returns Home After 22 Years (June 30, 2015), https://www.ap.org/explore/seafood-from-slaves/myanmar-fisherman-goes-home-after-22-years-as-a-slave.html.

[1] See National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Global Wild Fisheries, Fish Watch, https://www.fishwatch.gov/sust#_ftnref1ainable-seafood/the-global-picture (last accessed Feb. 12, 2020).
[2] International Labour Office, Caught at Sea:  Forced Labour and Trafficking in Fisheries, at v (2013), https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_norm/—declaration/documents/publication/wcms_214472.pdf (last accessed Feb. 12, 2020); See also DigitalGlobe, See Freedom, https://explore.digitalglobe.com/see-freedom.



April 9, 2020