Nestle is being sued by California residents after it was unveiled that the company utilizes human trafficking and slave labor to obtain the seafood used in its Fancy Feast cat food line.
Californians filed the lawsuit on the accusation that Nestle is violating the California Unfair Competition Law, Consumers Legal Remedies Act, and False Advertising Law.
Thai Union Frozen Products – the company Nestle purchases its seafood from – lures Burmese and Cambodian males 15 years and older with the promise of employment and a better life, then traffics them to Thai fishing boats where they work 20-hour days with little-to-no food or pay.
Workers are forbidden to leave the ship unless their captain releases them, which only happens when the captain believes the debt to purchase the man has been paid off in man hours. Workers who try to escape are severely punished with shackles around the neck, merciless beatings, and even death.
Steve Berman, managing partner of the law firm handling this case – Hagens Berman, had this to say about Nestle’s actions:
“By hiding this from public view, Nestle has effectively tricked millions of consumers into supporting and encouraging slave labor on floating prisons. It’s a fact that the thousands of purchasers of its top-selling pet food products would not have bought this brand had they known the truth – that hundreds of individuals are enslaved, beaten, or even murdered in the production of its pet food. Nestle had the resources to combat this and could have – should have – chosen not to support these egregious human rights violations. Nestle has failed to uphold its responsibility to ensure the absence of slave labor in its supply chains – and even worse, Nestle not only supported these human rights violations, but forced consumers to unknowingly do the same.”
Nestle claims it has been working with Thai Union Frozen Products in order to understand its policies and the Thai fishing industry in general, but is it too late? Has Nestle blown its customers’ trust for good? Let me know in the comments, then share this story using the buttons below!
You can read more about human trafficking and slave labor in Asia here.