What is Forced Labor: Part Seven Forced Labor in the Agriculture, Farming, Fishing, and Food Industry
By Ashlie Bailey
Forced labor is the most common form of human trafficking and affects many areas of life. One of the areas of life that forced labor affects is the food industry. A lot of people are familiar with human trafficking in cocoa farming for chocolate manufacturing, but forced labor has an impact on all kinds of foods from all over the world. Slave labor is used extensively in the fishing industry and those who are exploited in this way are almost all men and boys.
Produce comes from many places. It is not uncommon at all for slaves to be used in agriculture to grow and harvest produce. This impacts migrant workers who are mostly males and are promised payment but never receive it. Not only are these slaves forced into labor unpaid, they are treated badly and forced to work nonstop under dangerous conditions. The same toxic chemicals and pesticides that are used in agriculture end up poisoning the slaves who work to grow the food. Why would we be willing to trust certain foods to be fit for consumption, when it is clear that those who manufacturer it doesn’t care about human life. A food company who has no problem with poisoning slaves would have no problem with allowing the population to be poisoned with their products. Manufacturers who have no ethics can’t be trusted with the responsibility of feeding the public.
Another indicator of whether a food manufacturing company can be trusted or not is how they treat animals. A company that treats animals ethically is also more likely to treat people well. Why would a company who is responsible for treating animals cruelly and keeping them in overcrowded and filthy conditions care about producing food that is healthy? This is why I prefer to find fair trade food whenever possible, or locally, or organically grown and animal cruelty free food.
Making healthy choices in our diet doesn't just impact you it affects the world. Companies that go through the trouble of growing organically grown and cage free food follow ethics. A company who demonstrates ethics such as growing organic food is far less likely to be involved in using slave labor. When you buy products from companies who care you are lessening the demand for slave labor and you are helping to change the world.