On September 20, a Thailand court found human rights researcher Andy Hall guilty of defamation for a report he published on abuse of migrant workers on Thailand’s global food supply chain. The following is a statement by Jacob Horwitz, Organizing Director of the National Guestworker Alliance:
The verdict against Andy Hall is a blow against human rights and workers’ rights. The kind of severe labor abuse that Hall exposed–often rising to the level of forced labor and human trafficking–is a constant reality on the supply chains of U.S. retailers like WholeFoods, WalMart, and CostCo. It’s also a reality on these retailers’ U.S. supply chains, as the NGA documented in a recent report to the International Labor Organization.
Criminalizing supply chain research like Hall’s is unacceptable. Anyone who cares about the right of vulnerable migrant workers should condemn today’s verdict.
But above all, it’s retailers like WalMart, WholeFoods, and CostCo that bear the responsibility for stopping supply chain abuse. Their buying power lets them set the terms for suppliers in the U.S, Thailand, and across the globe. They have an obligation to condemn today’s verdict, support supply chain researchers like Hall, and work with the NGA and other organizations to set real, enforceable supply chain standards that keep vulnerable workers safe.