For the past three years, I’ve been trying to change and shape the ethics of my shopping habits. It all started with reading David Batstone’s “Not for Sale” for one of my freshman classes. This book forced me out of the sheltered world my parents had formed around me and opened my eyes to the trials the poor in other countries face and the acts it can drive people to commit.
According to the Not for Sale campaign (started by David Batstone), 30 million people live in slavery—more than any other point in history. (For more information about modern-day slavery and actions against it, visit http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/about/slavery/) These slaves either serve unfair business owners to pay back a loan or have been trapped into the sex slave industry. As a result, several movements have developed to deliver these people out of their plight.
All of these organizations have a common goal: providing work for women to keep them out of the sex slave industry, rescuing children from men who exploit them sexually, and providing fair trade products to the average consumer.
The World Fair Trade Organization (http://www.wftomarket.com/) provides a place for producers all over the world to participate in fair trade business. The Fair Trade Federation (http://www.fairtradefederation.org/ht/d/sp/i/177/pid/177) certifies companies in North America as fair trade. A list of these companies is available at http://www.fairtradefederation.org/ht/d/Memdir/pid/1722
Chain Store Reaction (http://chainstorereaction.com/home/) tracks the business practices of brands, such as Nike and The Home Depot, to see if they use slave labor. This website allows everyday people to contact these brands hoping that the consumer response will spark the business to avoid using slave labor when manufacturing its products. Several businesses have responded, but more businesses have not responded.
Some companies have made fair trade shopping available on the internet. Here are a few of them: