Worker welfare regarding the production of the seafood imported into Australia has always been important. This has now been highlighted by the new Australian Modern Slavery legislation. This section outlines the methods used by the trade to ensure products are produced in a socially equitable manner.
Worker Welfare / Modern Slavery
This topic has been a concern in some parts of the seafood industry for at least a decade.
Following the publication of human rights abuses in Thailand more than 10 years ago many organisations / processes were put in place in that part of the world to address the global concerns including; Verite; Seafood Task Force; Migrant Workers Rights Network; Labour Rights Promotion Foundation Network; the Issara Institute and the UN ILO.
Since then this has become a global issue for any traded goods and third party service providers have now created tools and methodologies to help businesses assess and address these risks.
Some countries notably the UK and now Australia have implemented Modern Slavery legislation, that mandates action by big businesses.
Seafood importing businesses into Australia now have to map their supply chain, undertake risk assessments of their supply chain partners, identify any 'hot spots' and determine methods to address any concerns. They also have to publish a report to the government on the approach they have taken. (This all comes into effect over the next 12 months).
Support tools/organisations that are now available to address these concerns are; Ethical Trading Initiative - ETI, SEDEX SMETA audits, SA8000 audits, NGO's who can provide assistance such as Stop the Traffik, The Mekong Club, Stronger Togeather.
Seafood certifications for other topics such as food safety and sustainability are now building worker welfare aspects into their schemes, notably GAA's BAP scheme and more recently the MSC scheme.