"A human trafficker can earn 20 times what he or she paid for a girl. Provided the girl was not physically brutalized to the point of ruining her beauty, the pimp could sell her again for a greater price because he had trained her and broken her spirit, which saves future buyers the hassle. A 2003 study in the Netherlands found that, on average, a single sex slave earned her pimp at least $250,000 a year." - RandomHistory

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Consumer Choice

This cardigan I'm wearing - I paid a ridiculous $17 for it. How do I know that it wasn't knitted by slave labour?

In fact, the only product that I can say with any certainty is slave-free is Cadbury's plain milk chocolate, due to the Fair Trade logo. (Check this useful comparative report of three such logos.)

What I want to see is legislation that requires full disclosure of each product's supply chain, and mandatory labelling that ensures slave-produced goods are labelled as such, so that I as a consumer have the right to choose slavery-free products. For a while there I got all excited thinking we could have a central database of supply-chains integrated into a barcode-scanning iPhone app such as Free2Work.

But the problem is it's not as simple as that:

"WHY NOT BOYCOTT? In certain situations boycotting specific goods or countries can actually make the situation worse and undermine the economy of an already poor country. A boycott could hurt those in slavery-like conditions as well as those employers who are not exploiting their workers, and worsen the poverty that is one of the root causes of the problem. Support fair and ethical trade initiatives instead and use consumer power to encourage retailers and companies to move to the Fairtrade scheme."

What will you do to stop Human Trafficking & Slavery?