How many slaves work for you?

11 August 2013

Are you a mother, a Fashionista or a gym rat? Perhaps you are still currently in school and enjoy riding your bike to and from class. You may not be aware, but more or less everyone in the world has a slavery footprint. Much like a carbon footprint; a slavery footprint measures how much of one unit is accumulated in conjunction with your particular lifestyle. You don't have to be retail-mad to be guilty of a high slavery footprint. Even things like milk bottles, glasses and pencil sharpeners can involve slavery at some point during its process and trade.

Regardless of your lifestyle, you will have a slavery footprint that may be generated from everyday essentials such as clothing and food. My most recent and biggest concern regarding slavery was with regards to my career path. I studied Fashion Buying at University and worried that this particular career would always and indefinitely involve the exploitation of workers. I am now a Buying Assistant in a large retail company and proud to say that our company enforces a strong ongoing policy in which in no way do we trade with people or suppliers that conduct "mal practice". In our most recent meeting, the topic of slavery in India was brought up and the recent scandals involving a certain high street value retailer. It was a relief to find out that not all retailers exploit workers in order pocket the most profit and it gave me a little more hope. However, I feel as though the subject of slavery and exploitation should have been addressed at one point during my degree and quite strongly at that.

It may seem like an impossible task to abolish slavery, after all - sometimes we can't resist making a purchase in Primark. But it is important to remember that every little bit does actually help. Here are some really simple and basic things you can do to play a role in slavery abolition:-

(1) Educate - You can do things like educate people on the subject like I am with this post. There's no better publicity than word-of-mouth and much like I've already said, I wish I was educated on this issue whilst at University.

(2) Donate - Give to charities and organisations that focus on the abolition of slavery. You can make sure a child is not forced into child labour by sponsoring them and helping them get an education or help bring down human trafficking.

(3) Buy Ethically - Know what you're buying and be more aware of possible mal practice in the places you shop. Don't kick yourself if you buy something from a retailer you know enforces slave labour but try your best not to.

(4) Download Apps - Free World and Free2Work are great apps to help you figure out which companies are the most guilty of slavery and exploitation. According to Free2Work, Ernest Jones and H. Samuels both get a D- grade for their efforts to prevent forced and child labour.

Hop on over to to roughly work out how many slaves work for you. You can also visit Made In A Free World and find out more about their latest campaign to rescue, rehabilitate and reintegrate children of Ghana. It makes a very disturbing connection between ourselves and Ebenezer, a young child forced into child slave labour. He fishes and is abused by his "masters". 25% of fish harvested in Ghana end up in European markets. So fish Ebenezer has been forced underwater for long periods of time to lure may have ended up on your plate and one point in the past. 100% of donations go to the cause and therefore I will be donating them for the month of August. My song of the moment is Broken by Jake Bugg and I think it goes quite well with this post. Don't forget to check out my Philanthropy page and be sure to share this post and spread the word!

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