What’s Your Slavery Footprint?

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Last Updated on May 20, 2015 by Chef Mireille

I usually don’t get involved in political/social issues on this blog, but every once in a while there is something that I fell very strongly about and think I would be quite remiss at not utilizing the platform and the audience I have.

We all make choices every day – from the food we buy to the clothes we wear – and few of us consider the consequences to others.  We are mostly concerned with our own wallets and usually just look at the best option for cost & quality, myself included.  However, would you make the same choices if you were consciously aware of how many slaves were involved in that cup of coffee you drink every day or that leather bag you are buying as a birthday present to yourself?

Many of us see these Fair Trade signs in the supermarket and don’t really know what it means or care for that matter.  We just look for the most inexpensive option for us.  However, buying fair trade is very important.  It means there is no government interference – the farms, etc. aren’t being forced to make quotas and are free to charge whatever price they deem appropriate.  This allows them to make a decent living, without relying on the backs of slave labor and especially, children.  Does this mean Fair Trade suppliers are not involved in slave labor? NO (especially in countries like China) – but it does mean the chances of them doing that is much less.

If we want a better world for the next generation with less terrorism, war and fear, education is the key.  Children cannot be educated if they are working as modern day slaves in the coffee plantations and cotton farms.  Maybe you have to skip that weekly dinner out and make it only bi-weekly to afford the higher priced fair trade item, but isn’t it worth it?

The apparel industry is one of the worst, using child labor in apparel factories in Vietnam, India, China, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia & Argentina.  The worst countries for cotton production are Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Brazil.  A few of the companies that have the worst records are Lacoste and Spiewak. Even Carter’s, which is a company that produces children’s clothing, has a D grade – just one grade away from companies like Lacoste.  A few of the companies that have the best records are Adidas, Gap, American Eagle, New Balance & Timberland (data taken from https://www.free2work.org).

…so next time you need to buy a new pair of sneakers – go for Adidas or New Balance before Nike!

Do you smoke?  Do you let your kids pick their toys out at Toys R Us? Well, you are supporting slave labor!  A few of the companies with the worst records are:
Phillip Morris
Victoria’s Secret
KYE (Chinese supplier)
Forever 21, Aeropostale, Toys R Us, Urban Outfitters
(data provided from https://www.businesspundit.com/5-giant-companies-who-use-slave-labor/)

We can all make a difference with this knowledge:
Buy Addidas or New Balance, instead of Nike
Buy Nestle, instead of Hershey’s
Even Walmart, with a C grade is a better option than some of these other companies!

Like they say, Knowledge is Power – you now have the knowledge and it is within your power to  make educated choices!  Imagine if all the food bloggers mentioned a little blurb about this to their readers and invited them to take the test below – how many people globally might make the changes to institute change in these industries, simply by not supporting companies that engage in slave labor?

Would you be interested in knowing what your slavery footprint is?  How many slaves are working for you, to afford you the life and conveniences you have?  Well, I took the test and sadly, I have to report I have 55 slaves working for me.  Take the test here and Like/Follow them on Facebook/Twitter to help spread the word so that companies will stop supporting slave labor!

Would love to hear from you all and know your scores!

Here a few links if you would like to learn more:

anyway….enough of politics…I’ll give you another recipe later today as a reward for reading this serious, but important post!


Chef Mireille 

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