When we think of slavery, most Americans likely consider the slave history of our own country. We relegate slavery to the past, believing that such a barbaric concept couldn’t ever exist in our current world.
We were wrong.
Slavery is alive and well, and happening in more places than you think. There are 27 million slaves in the world today, involved in a variety of industries and in a multitude of countries. There’s the forced prostitution and trafficking of women around the world; the men forced to work in the copper, diamond and coltan mines in the Congo; and the trafficked migrant workers of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
But that’s just a fraction of the slave and indentured labor that happens all over the world, employed to create products and services we use every day.
My Slavery Footprint is designed to make you aware of how much of what you buy, use and wear contributes to the global slave trade. The questionnaire takes about five minutes to fill out, and provides you with a comprehensive map of where and how your products are produced.
I took the test, and found out that 32 slaves contributed to my lifestyle in a number of countries. I learned that the cell phone I use every day (more like every five minutes) is produced using coltan mined by slaves in the Congo. That the clothes I buy that are manufactured in China, are created with slave-picked cotton. And the Brazilian coffee I enjoy made its way to my cup via the slave trade, too.
The goal of My Slavery Footprint isn’t to make you feel bad (though, you probably will) about your contribution to the global slave trade, it’s to make you aware of how intertwined our lives are with present-day servitude.
Taking the test has made me more conscious of how what I consume impacts the world, and hopefully it will do the same for you. You can support anti-slavery organizations like Anti-Slavery and Free The Slaves; consume and support fair trade companies; and let companies know that you don’t want products with source materials produced by slave labor. If you’re a business owner, you can sign up with Made In a Free World, aiming to produce a coalition of slave-free producers and providers.
Take the test and share your footprint in the comments.