The Ugly Truth About Your Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp LoveMichelle Chen exposes Thailand’s slave-driven shrimp industry.  Eat it up, you fat, western piece of shit.

The ocean’s culinary delights look pristine on our tables: peeled, processed and sterile. Now Western consumers are getting a taste of the human drudgery in the dregs of the supply chain.

News reports have surfaced of enslavement in the fisheries of Thailand. Men have reportedly been forced to work at boats for as many as twenty hours a day; disciplined with beatings, sometimes murders; often physically held captive on boats and at ports; and further preyed upon by usurious debts. The industry employs an estimated 650,000, with roughly 270,000 migrants on Thai fishing boats. Many have been trafficked from two poorer, less stable neighbors, Myanmar and Cambodia. Despite widespread reports of abuse and forced labor, regulatory bodies are weak and riddled with corruption, and we may never know how many have been subjected to this ferocious exploitation in order to keep our freezers stocked.

In a study by the UK-based Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), which documented extraordinary brutality on the fishing vessels, a trafficking survivor described the mechanics of modern-day captivity at sea:

“We had no choice. There was nowhere to flee; we were surrounded by the sea. After we arrived back to the shore, we were locked inside the room guarded by their men; there were too many of them. So the workers had to take one trip after another, without having a choice.”

The processing of human beings begins on shore with debt bondage, as EJF explains, “Many migrant fishers are sold to boat owners for what is known as ka hua, the price paid which the worker must pay off before receiving any wages. This can leave many fishers working for months or even years without pay.”

Their status as a commodity in a complex global trade leaves them variously disenfranchised: they’re simultaneously trapped in primitive conditions, yet their labor is governed by a fast-moving, technology-driven market run by “first world” monopolies.

[continues at The Nation]

Frater Isla

Frater Isla also writes under the name Joshua Lee. He lives in Albuquerque, NM.For more of his work, visit .

9 Comments on "The Ugly Truth About Your Shrimp Cocktail"

  1. Cortacespedes | Jul 1, 2014 at 11:36 pm |

    You don’t have to go to Thailand to find these situations playing themselves out. Neither is it exclusive to shrimping business.

    One has to wonder about all these immigrant children (mostly teens) that have been detained at the border and how their main argument in gaining “refuge” is that they need to make enough money here to pay off their smugglers.

    “The processing of human beings begins on shore with debt bondage, as EJF explains, “Many migrant fishers are sold to boat owners for what is known as ka hua, the price paid which the worker must pay off before receiving any wages. This can leave many fishers working for months or even years without pay.”

    Sounds like a familiar story from right here in the good ol’ U-S of A.

    Remember the paleteros of Los Angeles?

    Remember the El Monte sweatshop?

    • InfvoCuernos | Jul 2, 2014 at 12:40 am |

      Dead on right. For some reason, the US has been able to turn a blind eye to the slavery going on here in this country – specifically in the agricultural and food processing business. This has been going on since the end of the Civil War and thousands of words written about it and Pulitzer Prizes have been awarded for recognizing it and drawing attention to it. We even make our school children read about how we did it to our own people during the depression. Yet somehow, we can still O.K. it. It must really be something for people in Central America to hear things from the US about how Central America is violating people’s rights, all the while, the youth of their countries gets exploited by the US. Its like there was never anything other than a variation of feudalism, only with better press. At least in places like India, they have the fucked up institution of the Caste system so they can somehow convince themselves that maybe they deserve being on the bottom of the dogpile of humanity. Here, we resent our position because we are raised with the belief that we can do anything we want if we set our minds to it.
      I’m going to go watch some cat videos on youtube now.

  2. BuzzCoastin | Jul 2, 2014 at 12:32 am |

    the downside of opulence is slavery
    butt it cuts both ways
    enslaving both the privileged & the enslaved

    • JackiBoldenypt | Jul 2, 2014 at 10:01 am |

      having made $5060 thiss month and-in excess of, 10/k
      last-month . it’s realy the easiest-work I have Josiah . although Jacqueline `s
      stori is surprising, last week I bought themselves a Chrysler from ever done .
      I started this 4 months ago and pretty much straight away was bringin in at
      least $78 per-hour . why not look here C­a­s­h­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

    • kowalityjesus | Jul 2, 2014 at 2:13 pm |

      aye there be the rub

  3. Ron Chandler | Jul 2, 2014 at 6:40 am |

    Unsuspecting disnfonauts beware.
    This is not a new issue. It has been going on for some years. The Thai police are renowned for their corruption. Under the fugitive tyrant Shinawatra, the western NGOs did not make a big noise about it. But now that he is out, and his corrupt sister’s illegitimate government has been ejected by the military, all Thaksin’s cronies at the Carnegie Group, the Economist and the globalist enemies of the Thai people are shouting.
    Look up the Environmental justice Foundation. Who are its backers? You may find they are these same corporate puppetmasters Shinawatra is aligned with.
    Only now that the coup has taken place are moves being made to address the rights of these workers. Under the Thaksin gang, nothing was done.
    Read the excellent Tony Cartalucci at LandDestroyer.

    • JackiBoldenypt | Jul 2, 2014 at 9:40 am |

      my buddy’s
      sister makes $87 every hour on the internet . She has been unemployed for 6
      months but last month her payment was $19402 just working on the internet for a
      few hours. go right here M­o­n­e­y­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

      • JackiBoldenypt | Jul 2, 2014 at 9:49 am |

        my Aunty
        Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

  4. Ittabena | Jul 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm |

    Not one mention of the NPCO or what they have been trying to do since the coup took place, which hasn’t been that long as far as governments and reform goes.
    Of course it is too early to tell right now how effective they will be, but if the story is from Thailand, 9 times out of 10 it involves and mentions the National Council for Peace and Order. And this story should unless either the author is disconnected or the piece is dated.
    I have been watching through Thaivisa dot com, and it seems promising so far.
    But it’s true what the others say, if you want human bondage, you don’t have to go much further than Jackson Mississippi.

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