Thai chicken farmers stamping out slavery win government recognition
A total of 1,296 chicken farmers contracted by Thailand’s biggest food company Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), will receive Good Labour Practices (GLP) certification from the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare on Wednesday 15 March.
The GLP was launched by the Thai government in 2016 to end modern-day slavery, illegal treatment of migrant workers and child labour in the country’s poultry sector. The country’s chicken industry came under intense pressure last year after evidence of modern-day slavery emerged, although no claims of child labour were made.
Thailand’s seafood industry has been similarly accused of modern-day slavery, trafficking and child labour abuses, but has made good progress in reforming in recent years.
Now, government and industry alike aim to improve human rights in the poultry sector.
CPF wants to strengthen Thailand’s export competitiveness, primarily in poultry, and has encouraged its contract farmers to apply GLPs across farms. The company hopes that by encouraging farmers to adhere to better labour practices, it will alleviate the threat of slavery and abuse tainting its supply chain.
This has been a problem not just for Thai chicken companies, but also seafood producers: modern-day slavery claims came from farms that supplied livestock to the companies and were often owned and operated by third parties further down the supply chain, meaning controlling standards was harder.
Export teams from CPF have been sent to advise contract growers on the principles the company expects farmers to adhere to.
Meanwhile, the company said it aimed to improve the quality of life for up to 5,000 local and foreign labour workers, employed on farms contracted to supply chickens to CPF.
“The good labour practices in farms [aims] to upgrade quality of life in line with human rights requirement,” said Parisothat Punnabhum, senior vice-president of human resources at CPF.
“Farmers will learn to improve their employment working place to meet with international regulations.”
Sticking to the GLPs may help poultry farmers secure Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) certification – a set of codes that verifies food safety across the farming link of the food chain.
CPF said it would also encourage farmers to apply principles on farms stipulated by the Thai Labour Standards policy, which aims to bring domestic labour standards in line with international ones.