I discovered today that there are 25 slaves working for me.
The clothing I wear, the electronics I use, the coffee and food I consume, many of it comes from forced labor… slavery.
In fact, you may be surprised how many of our favorite brands are supplied by materials gathered by slave labor. Some are taking steps to make changes, others–not so much. If you’d like to find out, try visiting Free2Work.org to start. They give grades to companies based on their policies, transparency, monitoring, and worker’s rights.
Take Hershey, for instance. It’s been in the news recently for coming under fire after they made a decision to stop distributing candy products from the UK. Fans are expressing their outrage through #BoycottHershey. But do you know why you should really have an issue with Hershey?
They have a D+ score on Free2Work. Among other issues, absolutely zero percent of their suppliers are monitored each year, according to this site.
I’d say that’s a much better reason to be outraged. And there’s a better solution than a simple boycott–there are ways to contact your favorite brands and ask urge them to do more to monitor their suppliers, and ensure fair compensation and good working conditions for laborers.
If that seems impossible or futile, read about this group of awesome Harry Potter fans. It does work.
**Edit: I have found information that Hershey plans to switch to fair trade cocoa by 2020, and are making progress. Check out this post (and the comments) for more info**
Simply being aware of slavery isn’t enough. This is where we can start to do something. While we might not be able to bust up trafficking rings like Liam Neeson, we can absolutely make better decisions about what we purchase. We can buy from certified Fair Trade products, or when that isn’t possible, contact those companies and brands and ask them to help. Both is even better.
To identify whether a product is fair trade, you can usually look for a label. There are different certifications and the standards vary, so do a little bit of research. But here’s a good guide, with images of the more common logos you’ll find.
Find out what your Slavery Footprint score is. At the end, it will tell you which products most contributed to your score, and give you the option of contacting your favorite brands. It is as easy as clicking a logo, and a note is sent.
Each Friday I’ll be highlighting a fair trade company, product, or issue, and add these links to my ever-growing list of information and resources.
Do you have any favorite fair trade products or brands? Let me know in the comments so I can add them!
Read more about fair trade:
Another way you can fight slavery is to join my Freedom Fighter’s Team! Donate to the End It Movement and your contribution will go towards awareness efforts, prevention, rescue, and restoration of survivors. The suggested amount is seven dollars, but you can donate whatever you wish. Just be sure to spread the word!