Alina’s proposal abstract:

The Effects of Thailand Shrimp Farming Practices on Worker Welfare

Abstract

Studies have been done examining the environmental impacts from the shrimp farming industry in southern Thailand, but what has not been well researched is its impact on the employees.  Of the research that has been done, some found that the workers on the shrimp farms face two major social justice issues: immigrants come in and work for much less, and women are not considered real workers.  As the industry modernizes however, some industries have begun to certify their shrimp farms to be more sustainable and less destructive to the surrounding environment and also to create a better environment for their workers.  The purpose of my research project will be to compare worker welfare in certified and uncertified shrimp farms to determine if there are differences due to the certification process.

Meeting with shrimp farmer

"Researching has given me a purpose while being here in Thailand, even though we have faced some challenges. Our first scheduled interview at a private shrimp farm resulted in only our observations because once we arrived he refused to answer any questions. Because we hadn't interviewed any other owners I was worried this was going to set the precedent for our other interviews; however, luckily this seemed to be an outlier and our other interviews have gone very well. It never ceases to amaze me that that people want to sit down and answer almost an hours worth of questions, and then on the street or in a restaurant people have been very willing to fill out a survey. This would not be the case if we had tried to conduct this research in the United States, which makes me wonder what hoops journalists have to jump threw to investigate similar industries in the states. Today, June 17th, we have had one of our most productive and of course stressful days, trying to contact corporations and organizations to meet with us.  Back when we were flying to Cambodia with the Leadership in South East Asia class, Taylor and I had met a man on the plane who conducts a lot of research all over South East Asia, and he gave us his email and some contacts he thought would be useful for us. He gave us the contact information for our phenomenal translator, Ju, who assisted us with numerous faxes, phone calls, emails, and translating last minute documents. These gestures by supportive strangers makes it possible for us to reach out and work with companies we other wise definitely would not have been able to.  While we may not speak the language and we lack the resources we would have in the U.S., I think that with the amazing people we have had the privilege to interact with, we are so blessed to have been able to do this research in Thailand. We're bound to reach more obstacles, but today I can say I am excited to meet and overcome them!"  - Alina

Alina feeding the elephant

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