Praxis Mutual Funds® and other investors applaud Target’s commitment to the Seafood Task Force that seeks to improve the Thai seafood industry. Investors have long asked Target to address modern slavery and human trafficking in the Thai shrimp supply chain – a significant percentage of which is sold in supermarkets around the world, including the U.S.
Research from various human rights organizations, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, and investigative reports by The Guardian show grave abuses in the industry. Thailand’s strong economy and demand for workers make it an attractive destination for migrants from poorer neighboring countries. Many of these migrants pay labor brokers to help them find work, only to find themselves sold to boat captains as slaves. Enslaved migrants often work excessive hours with little to no pay, face physical abuse, have no opportunity to leave, and may be trapped on a boat for years without stepping on land.
The Seafood Task Force is composed of major U.S. and European Union retailers wanting to drive measureable social and environmental change in the Thai seafood industry through greater supply chain accountability, verification and transparency. Key goals include:
- Creating a standard code of conduct model for Thai ports, brokers and vessels.
- Conducting audits of vessels.
- Implementing tracking systems to trace vessels to production areas.
Investors are now asking Target to report its progress on an ongoing basis and to join Project Issara, which helps migrant workers choose good employers, find safe work and living conditions, and avoid exploitative labor brokers. Praxis is working with Target alongside Christian Brothers Investment Services, which is leading the engagement.