Organisation: The Associated Press (United States)
Publication Date: 04/09/2016
DescriptionA yearlong AP investigation unearthed this shocking revelation: Shrimp peeled by modern-day slaves in Thailand is reaching major American markets despite promises by businesses and government to clean up the country's $7 billion seafood export industry. The U.S. food stores that are linked to supply chains that contained tainted shrimp include such established supermarkets as Wal-Mart, Kroger and Whole Foods. The impact of this AP investigative series could not have been more singular or significant. It resulted in the freeing of more than 2,000 slaves in the Southeast Asian fishing industry. The reports also led to a dozen arrests, millions of dollars' worth of seizures and proposals for new federal laws. Major companies in the U.S. promised reforms. The only response missing from this outcry, it seemed, was an organized effort from the everyday consumer – the target audience for our project. So we’re developing a web app that will help American seafood consumers find out if their seafood is one of the brands identified in the AP investigation (A secondary audience for this would include others who are keen on bringing attention to businesses whose practices might be tainted). With the right tools, they could learn how businesses responded and what they are doing to remedy the problem. This is how our proposed web app will work. A consumer can scan or take a photo of a barcode of a seafood item sold at a U.S. market. That image or barcode can then be checked against a database of seafood products that have passed through supply chains tainted by slavery as investigated by the AP. Consumers phone will also be provided with the opportunity to contact companies directly. While this project is tied to a specific investigation, it could serve as a framework for other reporting projects surrounding efforts to monitor consumer goods or international supply chains.
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