Seafood supply chains are complex and rife with vulnerability to human trafficking risks and other labor problems (see infographic below). This past March, Verité attended Seafood Expo North America in Boston, speaking on panels about gender equality and social responsibility in supply chains.
What is Gender Equality and Does it Matter in Seafood?
Lydia Long, Senior Director of Verité’s Training Program, spoke on a panel addressing key gender issues in the seafood industry. Lydia described Verité’s findings of endemic gender-based inequity and abuses in seafood farming and processing operations around the world, including sexual harassment, threats and violence as a means of forcing women to accept exploitive terms, and hazardous working conditions. Common themes were informality of job status, absence of complaints channels, socio-economic barriers to education and networks, and ingrained attitudes of men — in families, communities and at work — about the place, and rights of women. The panel shared practical strategies to address gender inequality and women’s issues that can be applied to the sector.
Sharing an Online Road Map for Social Responsibility Guidance in the Seafood Sector
Allison Arbib, Research and Policy Director at Verité, spoke about the need for targeted, worker-centric social audits carried out by highly-trained, culturally-competent auditors. She stressed that this must take place within a system that prioritizes the experiences and perspectives of workers and emphasizes workers’ protection and concrete remediation of problems. FishWise, the host of the panel, recently launched the Roadmap for Improving Seafood Ethics (RISE) online platform which features many tools from Verité’s Responsible Sourcing Tool and Help Wanted sites, including tools that provide guidance on conducting worker-centric social audits that can illuminate risks of human trafficking.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com/sirtravelalot