It’s easy to say that human trafficking is a violation against basic human rights and that it should be abolished. And we often assume that modern-day slavery only takes place in countries far away, that it doesn’t affect us, and that we in no way contribute to the perpetuation of this terrible crime.
Unfortunately, nothing is as clear cut as that. According to UN.GIFT, 161 countries worldwide are reported to be affected by human trafficking. These countries are found on every continent and represent every type of economy.
Chances are, you have purchased, eaten, or are wearing something tainted by slavery. You can see what these tainted products are on Anti-Slavery International’s interactive map.
Some recent CNN Freedom Project reports include those from Thailand and California in the United States.
Charities working to help victims in these countries include: DEPDC in Thailand; Not For Sale works in both the U.S. and Thailand.
Unfortunately, there is currently no way of knowing whether the seafood you are eating is fair trade or not, however, there are efforts underway by the Fairtrade Foundation to create a fair-trade seafood certification process.
Patagonia, as seen in Barbara Starr’s report from California, performs internal audits to ensure the integrity of its clothing. Another brand of fair-trade clothing is No Chains, which will be featured in the upcoming weeks.