Organisation: The Associated Press (United States)

Publication Date: 04/09/2016


A 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 have sold this 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. The American seafood consumer will scan or take a photo of a barcode of a seafood item sold at a U.S. market. Then, the consumer’s phone will provide an opportunity for the consumer to communicate with the company in question. The prototype could also be repurposed as a tool that would trace the origin of other consumer goods through crowd sourcing.
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