Thai Union's Darian McBain speaks at Trust Women Conference
Thai Union’s global director of sustainable development Darian McBain participated in the annual Trust Women Conference in London on 30 November 2016, serving on a panel that discussed the elimination of forced labor from seafood supply chains.
At the conference, McBain discussed the issue of slavery in the Thai seafood sector, and Thai Union’s efforts to improve working conditions in its own supply chain. The panel also included Nick Grono, president and CEO of the Freedom Fund; Kevin Hyland, the U.K. Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner; and speakers from Primark and Hilton.
“To genuinely eradicate slavery, the entire industry needs to work together on sustainable and evidence-based solutions. That means businesses, governments, civil societies and even consumers must actively participate,” McBain said during the conference.
In addition to the panel, McBain gave a presentation, along with Australian Ambassador for People Smuggling and Human Trafficking Issues Andrew Goledzinowski and media broadcaster Femi Oke, that established a Fishers Fund designed to offer financial assistance to workers rescued from slavery.
The Fishers Fund will work with local NGOs including the Issara Institute, the Migrant Workers Rights Network, Stella Maris and LPN.
“[The fund] will give survivors the funds to make their own choices to build a brighter future for themselves and their families, and give them back their human rights and their dignity by providing freedom of choice,” McBain said in a press release.
Andy Hall, international affairs adviser for the Migrant Worker Rights Network (MWRN), praised the creation of the Fishers Fund.
“[It’s a] much-needed compensation or support fund to provide redress and contribute to rebuilding the lives of tens or hundreds of thousands of migrant and national workers associated with the Thai fishing industry, whom for decades have faced and indeed still do face severe abuse too often in situations of modern slavery, forced labor and human trafficking,” Hall said. “This is a bold and impressive move or step forward by Thai Union Group, and reflects what MWRN perceive to be a real commitment by the company, one of the largest seafood companies in the world, to ensure a better and more sustainable future for the Thai seafood industry and its crucially important workforce, often consisting of migrant workers from Myanmar and Cambodia ,who continue to face high risks of the most serious kinds abuse.”
In conjunction with McBain’s appearance at the conference, Thai Union launched a new website, dubbed Sea Change and found at www.ThaiUnion-sustainability.com, outlining the company’s sustainability strategy.
“SeaChange is an integrated plan of initiatives, organized into four focus areas, designed to ensure Thai Union delivers against its own stretching sustainability objectives and, in the process, drives meaningful improvements across the entire global seafood industry,” according to a description on the website.