New laws and some laudable corporate disclosures are raising hopes that endemic labour issues in the seafood sector can be cleaned up
Recent legislative and regulatory changes in the US are making large seafood companies more aware of the need to tackle slavery in their supply chains.
Dan Viederman of the non-profit labour organisation Verité says US president Barack Obama’s signing of the Port State Measures Agreement and the US Senate’s closing of a loophole in the 1930 Tariff Act are examples of recent legal changes that have done more to move companies “in the direction of engagement than anything that has happened in many years in the modern anti-sweatshop movement”.
Viederman says these moves come on the heels of last year’s passage of the Modern Slavery Act by the UK, and California’s Transparency in Supply Chains Act (in effect from 2012), groundbreaking laws that pushed the issues of transparency up the corporate agenda.
“Having governments create expectations that carry the force of law, even if those are not fully implemented, is driving companies to the table, and particularly companies that might not have been leaders in this space previously,” Viederman says.
Last month the US Senate voted to close a loophole in the 1930 Tariff Act that had allowed importers to get around sanctions against...