Costco sued for fishy labor practices

August 19, 2015
San Jose Mercury News

Mega-retailer Costco has been slapped with a class-action lawsuit for allegedly turning a blind eye to the fact it is selling farmed shrimp from Thailand that is produced through a fishing industry relying on slave labor and human trafficking.

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, consumer lawyers seek to change the business practices of Costco and its supplier, CP Foods, arguing that Costco is ignoring illegal labor practices in Thailand to feather its profits."Consumers do not wish to knowingly purchase a product that is derived from, manufactured and otherwise created or made available through the use of slavery, human trafficking or other illegal labor practices," the lawsuit states.The lawsuit in many respects mirrors media reports and investigations by the London-based Environment Justice Foundation over the past year that have raised concerns about large retailers such as Costco and Wal-Mart Stores selling seafood products generated from a supply of forced labor in Thailand.Costco could not immediately be reached for comment, but told USA Today last year that it is working with its suppliers to take "corrective action" to monitor illegal labor practices."California consumers are unknowingly supporting slave labor," said Niall McCarthy, lead attorney for state consumers.