U.S. officials and human rights activists called on Americans to stop buying fish and shrimp tied to supply chains in Thailand, where The Associated Press has found slaves are forced to work in the seafood industry.
"All of us may find ourselves eating a slave-made product without knowing it, but once we know it, we all have a moral obligation, I believe, to make a personal decision to boycott it," said New Jersey Republican Congressman Chris Smith, a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee.
Said Mark Lagon, president of the group Freedom House: "This isn't a matter of low pay or crummy working conditions. This isn't a matter of saving lots of money to choose the product that is made by cutting corners. This is the flagrant abuse of fellow human beings. ... Americans won't stand for that."
The AP reported Monday that it found enslaved workers who were forced to peel shrimp in Thailand for up to 16 hours a day for little or no pay, and many were locked inside for months or even years on end. Journalists followed trucks from an abusive factory raided last month to major Thai distributors, and traced similar connections from another factory raided in May.
U.S. customs records show the shrimp made its way into the supply chains of major U.S. food stores and retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kroger, Dollar General and Petco, along with restaurants such as Olive Garden.
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