WASHINGTON—To commemorate the United Nations International Day for the Abolition of Slavery on December 2, 2017, the Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking (CCOAHT) is asking seafood producers, distributors and seafood retailers to make public, through packaged product labeling, their efforts to fight human trafficking in their product supply chains. According to CCOAHT, consumers are not receiving enough information needed to make moral purchasing decisions.
CCOAHT, which is facilitated by Migration and Refugee
Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, consists of over 30
national and international Catholic agencies working to eliminate the plight of
trafficked victims. Its pursuit of ethical consumerism seeks to echo the
Vatican's commitment to "proof" its own supply chains from slave labor.
To support the
request for slave-free seafood labels, CCOAHT distributed a survey to its
networks, asking consumers if slave-free labeling would affect purchases. Over
2,200 people responded and the results showed that 99% of consumers want
companies to take steps to engage in ethical business practices, 98% want their
packaged seafood to be labeled, and 97% said labels would influence their
"Catholics are becoming increasingly aware of the
collective power they possess as consumers to press for positive change in the
lives of those who catch our fish. As my CCOAHT colleagues have remarked, 'we
are asking the seafood industry to do better. The companies that do will be
supported by consumers'", said Hilary Chester, Director of Anti-Trafficking at
the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The consumer survey built upon a 2016 Lenten postcard
campaign organized by CCOAHT.
Members' networks mailed 15,000 postcards to
U.S. seafood retailers urging them to examine their supply chains and commit to
a product free of slave labor. CCOAHT members will highlight survey data
in upcoming dialogue with seafood supply chain shareholders.
For additional details about Labeling for Lent, refer to: Consumers Want the
Choice to Buy Slave-Free Seafood.