This week I want to tell you about something I have recently committed to. I took the “Fair Pledge Challenge” from a non-profit group that Dan and I love called “Stories Foundation”.
Here’s why I love this so much, here is the pledge I took.
I pledge to think before I buy. To consider what the cost of an item is for the people who made it. I pledge to not add to the demand of labor trafficking with my choices. I acknowledge that I will not be perfect. But I pledge to do better.
Why do you think I took this pledge? Here is a fact for you: Human Trafficking is a $32 billion industry. I always thought “fair trade” was a hippy thing. Sorry, I am not an activist sort of gal. I was ignorant that millions of people are enslaved all around our world today. Kidnapping and slavery are real and our choices can and do make a difference.
So what started this journey? I attended the Global Leadership Summit in 2012 when Sheryl Wudunn spoke. She and her husband, Nicholas D. Kristof wrote the book, “Half the Sky.” This broke but also spoke to my heart. I started getting informed. I could no longer say I didn’t know.
Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, human traffickers generate hundreds of billions of dollars in profits by trapping millions of people in horrific situations around the world, including in the U.S. Traffickers use violence, threats, deception, debt bondage, and other manipulative tactics to force people to engage in commercial sex or to provide labor or services against their will. While more research is needed on the scope of human trafficking, here are a few key statistics that we do know:
The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally.
- 68% of them are trapped in forced labor.
- 26% of them are children.
- 55% are women and girls.
- The International Labor Organization estimates that forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide.
- The U.S. Department of Labor has identified 139 goods from 75 countries made by forced and child labor.
My friends at Stories Foundation and Love2Hope are raising awareness of this tragic fact, helping people understand this industry, empowering people to bring awareness to their communities and giving people opportunities to mobilize to make a difference. I also have friends working directly with women being brought out of slavery, counselling, teaching skills and rehabilitation.
This is evil and HARD, but I want to be informed about how I live my life. I will make shopping choices that value fair wages and working conditions for all people PERIOD.
My point for this week is this: Do you sometimes feel helpless with all of the evil in the world? This is something YOU can do and something you can also teach your children about.