A recent lawsuit is cracking down on bulk-food giant Costco for selling a brand of shrimp that allegedly uses slave labor. 

The Thailand-based company Charoen Pokhpand Foods (or CP Foods) is rumored to use unpaid migrant workers to harvest large amounts of giant shrimp. The laborers work for as long as 20 hours a day, seven days a week with harsh working conditions that have caused many to attempt to escape.


The lawsuit claims that some former slave laborers endured inhumane treatment ranging from whippings to electric shocks. Many even jumped off work boats in an attempt to flee the horrific working conditions.

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While Costco claims it “publicly represents that it does not tolerate human trafficking and slavery in its supply chain,” selling a product that uses slave labor contradicts the image the company is trying to promote.


Thailand has struggled with issues of human trafficking in the past, prompting the country to crack down on those that use slave labor. Unfortunately, attempts have not been successful as the fishing industry continues to transform into an “unregulated industry” controlled by criminals.

In order to minimize the use of human trafficking, the lawsuit hopes to put an end to inhumanely produced items at Costco. If the case is successful, SF Gate reports that Californians who bought frozen prawns from Costco during the last four years are entitled to get their money back.

[via SF Gate]