Grantee investigation of forced labor in Chinese seafood industry sparks federal hearing

While the U.S. has passed laws to restrict goods produced with forced labor in China, one sector – the seafood industry – has escaped scrutiny, a new investigation found. With a grant from the Fund, Ian Urbina and a team from the Outlaw Ocean Project reviewed hundreds of pages of internal company newsletters, trade data, local news reports and satellite imagery, as well as videos on the Internet, and they hired a team to visit some of the fish plants in China. They found that forced labor produces much of the fish consumed in the U.S. Their reporting was published this month in the New Yorker and more than 25 media outlets around the world. Within weeks, a joint Congressional/White House commission on China held a hearing about the issue, and Urbina testified about his team’s reporting. In addition, the Human Trafficking Legal Center filed a petition with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop all squid tied to a ship featured in the story from entering the U.S.