Today is anti-slavery day! A lot of people are not aware of modern day slavery, but this is an issue that is still very present. It’s estimated that around 40.3 million people are still enslaved around the globe today. Here is the U.S. we tend to think of slavery as something that doesn’t happen here. But the reality is it does.
So what is modern day slavery?
Modern day slavery comes in many different forms. A few examples include child labor, unpaid labor, human/sex trafficking, and more.
So what can I do?
1) Educate yourself
Like I said so many people are unaware that modern day slavery still exists. Do some research! Learn the signs, research your own city because chances are it’s probably happening around you! In the USA we tend to think this is something that only happens in developing countries, but the truth is more than 40,000 total cases of human trafficking have been reported to the National Hotline in the past decade. A few starting points are END IT and Polaris.
2) Think about the supply chains you’re supporting.
Do you know who makes your products? Are the companies you’re buying from paying their employees fairly? Providing a safe work environment? Creating good in the world? The fashion industry, coffee industry, and even the cocoa industry are known for modern day slavery! Be careful what you put your dollars towards. Every purchase you make matters. There are a lot of people who are effected by what we buy here in America.
3) Learn the stories and the journeys.
Listed below are a few awesome brands who work with survivors of human trafficking. What’s cool about these brands is that not only are they empowering women and helping them through the healing process, but they share the stories with the consumers. This allows consumers to learn how modern day slavery happens, the warning signs, and connect with individuals who have been through it. Modern day slavery is real and it’s happening right now!
Thistle Farms is a brand of natural home and body products handcrafted in by survivors of addiction, prostitution, and human trafficking. Thistle Farm's employment program is just one of many ways this social enterprise is empowering women. Today Thistle Farm's residential program, Magdalene, allows these women to have the time and care they need to recover. Women are connected with therapists, opportunities to get their GED, medical attention, and more. Classes are offered on childcare, financial management, etiquette, and other skills for these women to lead successful lives.
BRANDED Collective works with survivors of human trafficking through their partnership with End Slavery Tennessee. This socially minded jewelry company is able to provide job training and dignified employment opportunities to women survivors focused on re-entering the work force. Survivors are able to make a livable wage, learn a new skill, and be surrounded by a supportive community of women. Each piece of jewelry crafted is stamped with the initials of the survivor who made the jewelry. This allows consumers to go online and learn about the lady that made their piece. Customers are also able to send a message of Hope to survivors through BRANDED’s website! This is a great way to bridge the disconnect I think a lot of Americans experience. To read about and learn about women who are in the USA and have experienced modern day trafficking.
The Tote Project
The Tote Project creates inspirational bags that celebrate freedom. Their free spirt designs include sayings like Free to Grow, Free to Learn, Hold on to Hope, and other uplifting phrases. Each bag comes with a Human Trafficking Awareness Card which lists signs of modern day slavery and provides resources for further action. The bags are handmade by survivors of human trafficking in India with Freeset Global. Freeset is a World Fairtrade certified organization that provides employment and second chances to these women, allowing them to “hold on to hope.” From The Tote Project's proceeds, a portion is donated to Two Wings which mentors at risk youth and survivors of sex trafficking. Two Wings helps these individuals identify their goals and dreams, creating a plan of action after they are rescued.