Blood Prawns

Our world is becoming increasingly interconnected. It’s hard to avoid the fact that our actions and choices can have potential ramifications right around the globe. Thran, left Myanmar looking for work. He ended up paying a broker who obtained employment for him in the Thai fishing industry. Unbeknownst to him he’d been sold into modern slavery. Forced to work 20-hour shifts, and subject to regular beatings, he was tortured if he objected. One day he’d had enough and attempted to overthrow the captain of the boat, as he wanted out. Unsuccessful and in order to make an example of him to his fellow slaves, the captain summoned the other boats in the fleet. Thran was tied to each boat, and then quartered, ripped limb from limb.

Now why does this impact you and I? Because those boats in the Thai fishing fleet are part of a supply chain. Work by slaves allows us to have cheap prawns in our sandwiches, salads and stir-fry and are readily available in our supermarkets and restaurants. We’re familiar with the concept of blood diamonds, but blood prawns? The calamitous thing is that this story could be repeated serially around the globe, including here in the UK, with different slaves and other items that we regularly purchase. From food and clothes to conflict minerals used in jet engines/turbine blades, drill bits, end mills and other tools, tin cans, and consumer electronics. We in the west prosper and purchase on the backs of slaves.

We live in a interconnected world where we are gradually becoming aware that what we purchase and consume can be tainted by the blood, sweat and tears of slavery.