Be A Conscious Consumer

 

Join Us on the Journey to Be a Conscious Consumer!

When you buy a product, you essentially endorse it and everything that went into producing it. We believe that certification through credible, independent standards bodies such as Fair-Trade, UTZ Certified, and Rainforest Alliance is one of the key steps in eradicating trafficking. Being a savvy consumer is a powerful way to spot products that are traffic-free.

Across the globe, thousands of people are being economically exploited to produce the goods that drive the global economy.  A 2018 report from the Department of Labor found that one hundred forty-eight goods from seventy-six countries are produced with either child or forced labor. The abuse spans several industries, plaguing production lines of everything from gold to coffee to clothing, sugar and bricks. Deceptive and coercive recruitment ensnares unknowing victims; promises of fair wages and a better life veil the harsh reality of the situation they are entering. To recruit their victims, employers utilize tactics like debt bondage, where workers borrow money to pay various fees associated with their recruitment, and are unable to work off those debts in a reasonable amount of time.

Child and forced labor is a widespread, global problem, but steps are being taken to end both practices.  Governments are constantly drafting new laws to prohibit the use of child labor and the manufacturing of goods produced with forced labor. Law enforcement agencies are receiving funding to help combat unethical manufacturing. Victims of child and forced labor are given access to recovery services, education, and healthcare. Additionally, supply chains are being monitored more closely than ever before. Despite these advances towards ending economic exploitation, there is still work that needs to be done.

Across the globe, people are becoming aware of this multi-billion dollar crime and want to help, but are not sure how. While there are important ways that leaders and professionals from specific vocations can take action, EVERYONE, regardless of their age, vocation, or economic standing can make a difference as a conscious consumer!  

We have power as consumers, individually and collectively, to foster strong and resilient communities around the globe, eradicate poverty, and foster a traffic-free world.

The first step you can take to end child and forced labor is to become aware of the situation and educate yourself about the issue.  We encourage you to take a few minutes to analyze your slavery footprint at www.slaveryfootprint.org and learn how products you buy are touched by modern day slavery.

DOWNLOAD the Department of Labor's Sweat and Toil app, and discover which products and countries of origin are most implicated in unethical labor practices.

Then, TAKE ACTION by buying goods that come from sources you can be confident do not use child or forced labor. Support companies committed to paying a living wage and ensuring fair labor practices through your everyday purchases as a conscious consumer. 

Changing buying habits can be overwhelming. Being intentional and gradually making changes one product at time is a reasonable and responsible way to grow as a conscious consumer. The Freedom Café Conscious Consumer Guide and rack-card series seeks to provide a quick overview of the situation for specific products with the greatest amount of known child and forced labor while introducing you to some of the companies leading the way in providing ethically sourced products!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Good On You - Good On You is a directory of fashion brands; you can discover the very best fashion from around the world and learn about ethical and sustainable fashion.

Rank a Brand - Rank a Brand is an independent brand-comparison website that assesses and ranks consumer brands in several sectors on sustainability and social responsibility. Their rankings and assessments are fully transparent.

Baptist World Aid Fast Fashion Guide - This guide awards grades to companies based on a measure of the efforts undertaken by each company to mitigate the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation in their supply chains, as well as protect the environment from the harmful impacts of the fashion industry. Higher grades are given to companies with ethical sourcing systems that, if implemented well, should reduce the extent of worker exploitation and environmental harm.