Archive for the ‘forced labor’ Category

Matt Friedman of UNIAP (United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking) gives an articulate and personal message at TEDxSanJoaquin about the widespread challenges, and urgent need for people’s involvement in fighting slavery. It’s hard to watch this and not want to take action.

  • Thanks to Wendi Adelson at Human Trafficking Law blog for the heads up about this link
  • Watching the video makes me think of the handy book Better World Shopper, which helps me know which products I can buy to reduce slavery in the supply chain.

I got to go trick or treating early this year, courtesy of someone nice who did the shopping.  My Halloween chocolate consisted of Trader Joes Fair Trade Belgian Chocolate.  Tastes heavenly and doesn’t contribute to slavery.  Be an abolitionist and buy Fair Trade products!

Global Exchange has 31 creative ideas to celebrate a Fair Trade October.

Here are a couple I like:

  • Find out which stores in your neighborhood sell fair trade chocolate and buy your Halloween candy there.
  • Host a screening of the Dark Side of Chocolate… they even include a tool kit with everything you need
  • Check out the rest of the Fair Trade October ideas

Buying Fair Trade items helps prevent slavery by supporting sustainable markets for vulnerable people in developing economies.  It also helps fight slavery by sending a message to companies that don’t support Fair Trade, giving them a business incentive to support sustainable markets.

When I buy chocolate and other candy from Hershey, MARS, and Nestle today, those companies can’t assure me that my products weren’t grown, harvested, distributed, and even manufactured by slaves and child labor.  I used to love M&M’s, but they don’t taste as good to me when I picture a slave picking the cocoa for CEO Paul Michaels at Mars.

I’m glad to hear that Hershey has responded to pressure from the Raise the Bar Hershey campaign, and announced that they are committing to be 100% Fair Trade by 2020.  While that’s better than NOT committing to becoming Fair Trade at all, it’s still 7 years away.  I guess if Hershey is asking the farmers and laborers to wait 7 years for Fair Trade practices, then Hershey can wait 7 years for me to buy their products.  In the meantime, I’m keeping an eye on Nestle and Mars to follow suit, and I’ll keep buying chocolate and coffee that are Fair Trade now.

What is your reaction?  How do you decide which candy, costume, or products to buy for Halloween? Click here to leave a comment, or click on the bubble next to the title of the post.

Buy Art Not Kids

An ECPAT-USA Benefit Auction

Monday, October 22nd, 2012 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
at the Salmagundi Club
47 5th Avenue, Manhattan, NY

“The silent auction will feature works from renowned artists Pieter Hugo, Yoshiaki Mochizuki, Joel Shapiro and many others. The docket will also highlight works from survivors of sexual exploitation. Luxury items will be available for bid as well. Come and enjoy a complimentary assortment of delicious wine and cheese.”

Go to Buy Art Not Kids for more information about online bidding and buying tickets to the event.

I stumbled across Half the Sky on PBS on October 1st, and I was enthralled. Half the Sky author Nicholas Kristoff treks around the world educating us about efforts to fight slavery (aka human trafficking). He went to Sierra Leone with Eva Mendes, Cambodia with Meg Ryan (hosted by the courageous and inspiring Somaly Mam), Vietnam with Gabrielle Union, and more. It was such a eye-opening experience to these famous women, who took time from their busy schedules to touch and listen to precious girls who’ve had their innocence stolen.

If you missed Half the Sky on PBS, you can stil order a DVD to watch it on your own.

Not for Sale is hosting the 2012 Global Forum, “Justice for the Bottom Billion”, November 1&2 in Silicon Valley.

Featured Speakers:

  • Jeremy Affeldt – Pitcher, San Francisco Giants
  •  Leila Janah – Founder, Samasource
  •  Sarah Ferguson – Duchess of York
  •  Nancy Duarte – Founder & CEO, Duarte Inc.
  •  Francis Chan – Pastor and Best-Selling Author
  •  Jaida Im – Founder and Executive Director, Freedom House

The Global Forum is more than a conference. It is a personal, face to face gathering that will leave you inspired, equipped, and more plugged in as an abolitionist than ever before. You’ll hear what is going on in the movement to end slavery, recent developments and new strategies to fight human trafficking, as well as intimate break-out sessions from some of the leading abolitionists around the world.

Register or find out more information at Not For Sale Global Forum

Check out Made By Survivors and shop for beautiful jewelry that was handmade by survivors of poverty, abuse, and human trafficking.

Supporting women who are working to rebuild their lives after oppression and hardship fits in the bigger strategy of how to turn the tide against slavery

1. Reduce Supply – Sustainable economic development to help prevent people in poverty from becoming victims of slavery (or become victims again)
2. Reduce Demand – Responsible, knowledgeable consumers who reduce demand for slave labor by insisting on transparent, verifiably free-labor supply chains (shop carefully, knowledgeably, and compassionately for things like gold, chocolate, fruit and vegetables, cotton, high tech minerals, low cost consumer goods, rugs, clothing, etc)
3. Reduce Demand – Men not buying women and children for sex (train young men not to treat women and children that way, and enforce laws against men who do)
4. Reduce Supply – investigate and prosecute people who exploit and enslave others
5. Reduce Supply – rescue and rehabilitate slaves in every country (child soldiers, slave brick makers, enslaved sex workers, debt bondage victims, tomato pickers, cotton farmers, children maimed for the purpose of begging, slave brides, and so on)
6. Reduce Supply & Demand – end regional conflicts in places like Congo and Mali which increase the demand for human trafficking because the armed forces enslave child soldiers and require criminal networks to traffic victims as a source of funds for weapons and supplies, but also increase supply because of displaced people and communities, destroyed natural resources and infrastructure which removes people’s source of income. And the conflicts themselves are a result of the forces that lead to human trafficking in many cases. For instance, in Congo, much of the struggle is for control of mineral resources that are used in our Western high tech consumer goods, such as smart phones and computers. When we buy electronics at the local warehouse store, we may be fueling a war on the other side of the world which is contributing to the supply and demand for slave labor. And that’s in addition to the fact that the electronics themselves may involve slave labor in their manufacture.

Not to mention governments passing and enforcing anti-slavery laws, people reading books and watching movies to educate themselve and others, researching human trafficking solutions, fighting international criminal networks that traffic people, and being alert to human trafficking in our own communities.

Slavery and human trafficking are not going away any time soon, but this generation can at least turn the tide, and attempt to hand the next generation a world that is more slavery free than today. Supporting groups like Made By Survivors is one good way to support the fight.

Human trafficking is the only area of transnational crime in which women are significantly represented – as victims, perpetrators, and as activists seeking to combat this crime.

– Louise Shelley, Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective

In the introduction to Louise Shelley’s extensively researched book, Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective, she highlights the distinct nature of human trafficking compared to other international criminal systems. Women are enslaving human trafficking victims around the world, and women themselves are being enslaved. But women are also among the vanguard battling this growing problem.

You can find more information about Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective and other books related to slavery and human trafficking on either the Non-fiction books page, or the Reference books page.

“Not My Life is the first documentary film to depict the horrifying and dangerous practices of human trafficking and modern-day slavery on a global scale.
Filmed on five continents over a period of four years, Not My Life unflinchingly, but with enormous dignity and compassion, depicts the unspeakable practices of a multi-billion dollar global industry whose profits, as the film’s narration says, “are built on the backs and in the beds of our planet’s youth.”

CNN Freedom Project reports that mega-chocolate maker Nestlé is attempting to address child labor in the Nestlé supply chain.

  • Good for CNN for diving into the fight against slavery with the CNN Freedom Project.
  • Good for Nestlé for joining the Fair Labor Association (FLA) and supporting the FLA study on Nestlé’s labor problems in its chocolate supply chain.

CNN calls the FLA report an “independent study,” but there are significant questions about the independence of the Fair Labor Association.  According to Chris O’Brien at Silicon Beat, the FLA audit of Apple’s supply chain issues is of dubious value if the FLA is primarily funded by dues from its members.  O’Brien suggests that if Apple, Nestlé, and other big corporations pay dues which make up the bulk of FLA revenue, isn’t having the FLA conduct an investigation of members’ supply chains a little like “asking the fox to guard the henhouse?”  Are these companies serious about addressing child and forced labor in their supply chains and taking substantial steps?  Or are they dragging their feet and whitewashing poor corporate behavior behind a veil of FLA legitimacy?

I think Nestlé is moving in the right direction, and I applaud Nestlé’s decision to join the FLA, cooperate with the FLA child labor investigation, and move toward transparency in their supply chain.  At least they are admitting they have a problem.  In my opinion, it’s a huge step forward.  But… read this quote from the report, and tell me if you think Nestlé has taken full responsibility for selling chocolate made with forced labor and child labor.

“[O]ne company alone cannot solve the problems of labor standards that prevail in the cocoa sector of the Ivory Coast. The current state of working conditions—and specifically child labor, which regrettably is still a reality in the cocoa sector—has its roots in a combination of factors, including the socio-economic situation of the farmers and their families, the cultural perceptions of the workers, métayers and growers, and migration issues. These conditions have been compounded by the recent civil war in the country. Any realistic strategy to eliminate child labor in the Ivory Coast would have to start with the attitudes and perceptions of the various participants in the supply chain and communities at large, something that will take a considerable amount of time to achieve.

Since I became aware of forced and child labor problems in the chocolate industry, I stopped buying chocolate from Hershey, Mars, and Nestlé.  This report has not changed my mind.  I’m still not buying Nestlé chocolate, because it’s made with child and forced labor (in part).  However, at least Nestlé has given me hope that they are attempting to address the issue, so I will watch them to see if they deliver.  If independent groups can verify in the future that Nestlé’s supply chain is free of forced and child labor, I’ll start buying their products again.  Until then, I buy Fair Trade and other sustainably sourced chocolate.