Anti Slavery, awareness, bananas, church, clothes, Consumer Awareness, consumerism, Economy, Exploitation, Globalisation, human rights, Human Trafficking, Humanity, Justice, Life, peace, Product, Shopping, Slave Labour, Slavery, slavery footprint, Transparency, Who Made My Clothes
Rebecca Erskine is an Executive Assistant at the World Mission Council. She also sits on the Action Of Churches Together in Scotland- Anti Human Trafficking Group
A new phone, a new jacket from your favourite clothing line, or that new brand of chocolate that’s just come out… It’s no secret that we love getting our hands on something new, or something that might look like a great bargain.
Nowadays products from all over the globe can be shipped to our homes at the click of a button. This has changed the face of the global economy so dramatically, it now thrives on a voracious cycle of supply and demand, which is all driven by us, the consumers.
Being aware of what we buy and where we buy it proves more difficult today than it ever has been. Transparency in global product production is a choice that many companies choose not to take, which makes consumerism a very dangerous medium for human trafficking.
There is a direct correlation between human trafficking, un-monitored consumerism, and the desire for cheap goods. Slave labourers and victims of trafficking are found at several levels of the labour supply chain. Commodities produced by slave labour most often include bananas, cotton, coffee, tea, rice, bricks, jewellery and electronics, as profit seeking companies often look for the cheapest way to produce what they are selling. This means that some are ready to employ people being sold by traffickers, force them to work for little or no pay, and illegally exploit their labour. Read more here about the work that the World Mission Council is doing to help stop the buying and selling of human lives.
We can all do something to help stop human trafficking at every junction along the labour supply chain. Choose to be a conscientious and informed consumer! Discover your slavery footprint, ask who picked your tomatoes or made your clothes, or check out the Department of Labour’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labour or Forced Labour. Encourage companies to take steps to investigate and prevent human trafficking in their supply chains and publish the information, including supplier or factory lists, for consumer awareness.
This year think about where and what you’re buying in the sales; use your power as a consumer to help end human trafficking.