Bangladesh: U.S. Officials Satisfied with Shrimp Plant Working Conditions
The United States will not restrict Bangladeshi shrimp imports in response to a Solidarity Center report documenting labor abuse in Southeast Asia's shrimp industry, a team of Bangladeshi officials said during a press briefing in Dhaka, Bangladesh, yesterday upon returning from the United States.
Released in April, "The True Cost of Shrimp" alleged that shrimp processing plant workers in Bangladesh and Thailand, including children, are beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted and underpaid.
"We successfully convinced the officials of U.S. Trade Representative, AFL-CIO and influential senators and congressmen that the reports against Bangladeshi shrimp in international media were not based on facts. And the findings of some international NGOs were based on very old data," Golam Hossain, commerce ministry joint secretary and a team member, told the Daily Star.
"The USTR officials were very much convinced that Bangladesh had made significant progress in ensuring compliance in the shrimp sector," he added.
The Bangladeshi shrimp industry is now completely free of child labor, and it is has improved its working conditions dramatically since the Solidarity Center began preparing its report two years ago, said Hossain.
The Bangladeshi team again invited U.S. officials to inspect the country's shrimp processing plants.