We believe that trade should bring people out of poverty, not keep them in it. But unfortunately today supply chains still use sweatshops to produce their goods, products are still made by people who have an unfair wage and poor working conditions and a lot of modern trade still has strong involvement in modern day slavery. The goods we buy today still carry the fingerprints of slaves on them, slaves who are forgotten by many and unknown by the majority. (Have a look at your Slavery footprint here).
As consumers, we therefore have the responsibility to speak up and demand change from our retailers. Martin Luther King once said that “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. Freedom from the oppression of slavery matters. Equality matters. Let us not be a generation that allows this issue to pass us by; let us be like the Good Samaritan who reaches out a hand. The task at hand is a big one, but like Martin Luther King (who stood for African-American civil rights), it all begins with just one person making a STAND for their brothers and sisters, who otherwise can’t.
Here are two practical ways that we can make a difference:
1) Approaching retailers
A great way to start is by sending a letter to a company you regularly buy from, asking them about their ethical policy and whether they are slave free.
Here is a good template you can send: Slave free letter
There is great power in numbers and so the more people that fight for rights and speak up, the more likely change is to happen. A great way to make an impact would be to get your whole youth group, class or group of friends to send in a letter each: expressing your views on slavery and inquiring about the company’s ethical policies and supply chains.
Another great way to have an impact on retailers is through social media. Social media is a giant in modern day communication. Why not tweet a company over twitter, raise awareness and get the idea of a slave free trade industry rolling.
Here is an example tweet: Hi there @Superdry, love your clothing, just wondering if you have a decent ethical policy? Are you #SlaveFree?
Add @SoulActionUK to the convo and we’ll most likely retweet you
Lets get #SlaveFree trending.
2) Buying slave free goods
Another great practical way of tackling this issue is by buying fair-trade clothing and food from ethical retailers. If you’re unsure that the retailer you buy from has a good ethical policy just ask!
The Fair-trade website is a great place to start, as they give a list of high street shops and supermarkets that sell fair-trade food and clothing.
Also, check out some of these websites…
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