Our personal footprints in human trafficking can be personally assessed in order to understand that each of us must take ownership of our part. The assessment should be done in two areas: labor trafficking and sex trafficking.
Labor trafficking is the “easiest” to assess because it deals with goods and services that are produced for purchase around the world.
One way to know your footprint is to take a very interactive survey at the website www.slaveryfootprint.org. You can see an estimate of the number of slaves that work for you by answering a few questions about your consumer habits. This is where the fingerprints of those enslaved meets your daily life.
What creates the Demand for Slave labor workforce in the world today?
Our consumeristic society has created a demand for cheap products and laborers often suffer low wages and deplorable conditions in order to meet the price point required.
Cheaper goods – we want to be able to purchase items at a reduced cost. This includes but is not limited to: clothes, computers, automobiles, cars, jewelry, coffee and chocolate to name just a few. This demand leads to minimization of labor costs as the solution for suppliers.
Cheaper labor costs – for farm workers, construction workers, domestic works (maid/nanny) and restaurant workers, and other venues. To understand these issues globally see:www.freetheslaves.net and www.notforsalecampaign.org
The issues of demand on our part can be addressed in a variety of responses.
Buying smart – knowing the products you purchase are slave free and perhaps even made by freed slaves and fair trade items www.goodnewsgoods.com and their partner organization www.tradeasone.com as well as many other free trade and farmer co-op initiatives that exist. Explore the use of these options and help to reduce your footprint.
Corporate responsibility – Learn more about how well companies you purchase from are doing in knowing that their supply chain is slave free or fair trade. See these websites for more information: www.betterworldshopper.org and free2work.org home. A good book to grasp this is: “Everyday Justice” by Julie Clawson (2009). www.everydayjustice.net
There is not just one way to activate on this issue – there is a plethora of possible responses and is only limited by our personal creativity. We also don’t have to re-invent the wheel in many areas and through many current organizations you can find a means to actively find solutions for personal purchases and other means to address the demand issues.