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The Associated Press team uncovered a slave island and relentlessly exposed horrific labor abuses in Thailand's $7 billion annual seafood export industry. During their year-long investigation, Margie Mason, Robin McDowell, Martha Mendoza and Esther Htusan tied seafood caught and processed by trapped workers to the supply chains of almost every major U.S. retailer including Wal-Mart, Kroger, Sysco and Nestle. The reporters used images from space to track down runaway slave ships in Papua New Guinea and dug up loopholes in federal law allowing imports to continue unchecked. When Thailand¹s government said the abuses all occur in foreign territory, the journalists focused on factories just outside its capital, Bangkok where they found children and poor migrants locked inside and forced to peel shrimp. Tapping AP colleagues in all 50 states and eight countries, they documented how those seafood supply chains spread around the world. http://interactives.ap.org/2015/seafood-from-slaves/?START=freedom https://vimeo.com/151181618 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IeJOnCQlj0&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgYgAVQG5lk&feature=youtu.be
Sysco Corporation is the world’s largest food distributor. It’s a $43 billion dollar publicly traded corporation that supplies restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, and many other food facilities with everything from raw meat and dairy to fruits and vegetables. The company’s motto is “Good Things Come from Sysco.” But this yearlong investigation exposed the company’s widespread practice of storing fresh food in dirty, unrefrigerated, outdoor storage lockers for hours, before it was delivered to unsuspecting customers across Northern California. Employees across the U.S. and Canada later revealed that these sheds were part of the company’s food distribution practices for over a decade. The investigation uncovered a widespread network of sheds in places including Washington, Utah, Illinois, Tennessee, New York, Maryland and the District of Columbia stateside, in addition to Ontario and British Columbia in Canada.
After receiving a tip that seemed too wild to be true, we began weeks of surveillance and hidden camera recordings to expose the hidden food practices of the world’s largest food distributor. As a result of our reporting, the company publicly vowed to make sweeping changes to ensure the safety of its food delivery to millions of people across North America. Our reports also prompted investigations by state, federal and Canadian health officials that are ongoing and are expected to result in significant monetary penalties.