October 17th, 2012
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Editor's Note: Anti-trafficking expert Siddharth Kara is the author of “Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia,” providing the first comprehensive overview of bonded labor in South Asia.

In the third chapter of my new book on bonded labour, I explore the shrimp industry of Bangladesh. Chingri (shrimp) harvesting provides a highly illustrative case study of the very powerful ways in which environmental change can directly contribute to human trafficking, debt bondage, and forced labor exploitation, especially in the far reaches of the developing world.

To research the shrimp industry of Bangladesh requires a journey to the cyclone-wracked southwestern reaches of the country.

Here, one finds four stages to Bangladesh’s shrimp industry supply chain: 1 shrimp fry (baby shrimp) collection, shrimp farming, the distribution to processors, and shrimp processing. Each one of these stages is tainted by some form of severe labor exploitation.

Bangladesh’s shrimp industry is relatively new, and the recent shift from traditional agriculture to shrimp aquaculture in southwestern Bangladesh is primarily a result of climate change.

Beginning in the 1990s, farmers began to notice more and more saline shrimp in their irrigation channels, primarily due to rising sea levels.

Bangladesh is within close proximity of several multi-billion-dollar shrimp exporting nations such as Thailand, India, and Vietnam, so landowners quickly did the math and realized that low-intensity saline shrimp would generate far more profit than rice or potatoes ever would.

Read – Shrimp exports to West tied to bonded labor at the CNN Freedom Project

Previously - The bitter truth behind the chocolate in your Easter basket and Slave labor in the tomato fields

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Filed under: Food Politics • Human Rights • Sip • Slavery • Tea


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soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. soldes la redoute

    That there exists certainly married life while not adore, you will have adore while not married life.
    soldes la redoute http://www.ruelaredoute.fr/

    December 12, 2012 at 2:04 am | Reply
  2. IMH

    "Bangladesh’s shrimp industry is relatively new, and the recent shift from traditional agriculture to shrimp aquaculture in southwestern Bangladesh is primarily a result of climate change. Beginning in the 1990s, farmers began to notice more and more saline shrimp in their irrigation channels, primarily due to rising sea levels."

    This article has some very serious fact errors. First, "shrimp aquaculture" is not "new" in Bangladesh – it's been going on for decades. Good farm lands have been filled with sea water in order to grow shrimp for western markets. Secondly, the suggestion that this practice came about because of "rising sea levels" due to "climate change" (and farmers subsequently discovering shrimp in their irrigation channels) is the most unfounded statement I've read in a long time. This entire article is about as believable as the National Enquirer. How very strange.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Reply
  3. BillG

    I'm willing to give up the 50% working the tea trade. Or maybe they could be repurposed to shrimp?

    October 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  4. infidel86

    If my tea and shrimp is harvested by slaves why is it so expensive! I demand a discount!

    October 18, 2012 at 3:23 am | Reply
    • M T Nest

      I agree! Hmmm, funny how that works..."Little man" works his a** off & the "big man" fattens his wallet, doing, ummm, not much.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:33 am | Reply
  5. Cracker

    Slavery and being an immigrant farm worker following seasonal crops. Its all about toiling for the man. Got not much more than the shirt on your back and an i.o.u. at the company store. If you is throwing them shoes away, my little girl could use a pair...

    October 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  6. Cracker

    Slavery and working for minimum wage in the US. It's all about working for the man.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Reply

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