Palm oil is an increasingly ubiquitous, yet nearly invisible, substance. Consumers can find it in everything from Crest toothpaste and Gillette shaving cream to Nestle and Kraft food products. Benjamin Skinner, reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek and senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, says that rising demand for the product has masked the severe human rights abuses behind its harvest.
While most Americans believe their connection to slavery ended with the emancipation proclamation, the unfortunate reality is that it exists to this day — and the evidence is on everyone's dinner plates. A new investigative report reveals that laborers on fishing ships are frequently forced to work up to 52 hours straight under dangerous conditions, and are paid only $260 a month for unlimited hours. Because many companies won't disclose where they get their seafood from, avoiding purchasing slave-fished products is difficult to impossible for consumers.