With the rise of Woke Culture in recent years, issues of social injustice, discrimination, and oppression have come to the forefront of our day-to-day lives. We see endless awareness campaigns and social justice initiatives on social media, in the news, even on billboards and magazines during our daily commutes to work. Many of you have probably noticed that there is no shortage of just causes and charities trying to grab your attention at every turn.
One of these injustices garnering a fair amount of publicity is human trafficking. There are so many wonderful organisations (ours included!) fighting against human trafficking and, as everyone knows, one of the first battles of any war on injustice is public awareness. But, sometimes, this inundation of information can leave us feeling confused or unsure of where to even start with making a difference (cue the animal shelter ads that break our hearts with their videos of lonely puppies but then give us absolutely no information on how to help!).
But, not to fret. Ethical Trade Co is here to help clear things up and give you three every-day ways that you can make a real difference (at least in terms of human trafficking - sadly we still have no idea how to help the puppies).
1. Like and Follow Nonprofits Fighting Human Trafficking
We know what you're thinking: "What's following a social media page going to do? Aren't they just going to ask me to donate money or something? I'm on a serious budget, especially with these gas prices!" Actually, following your local nonprofit on Facebook and Instagram makes a bigger difference than you might think. Contributing to the following of a social media page increases that organization's "reach," meaning the more followers they have, the higher the number of new people who see their posts! That means that when you follow a page like ours (cough, @ethicaltradeco on Facebook and Instagram, cough), you're enabling us to reach even more people who might be interested in supporting us in the fight against human trafficking or even heading over to our website to browse our ethically produced, fair trade goods!
2. When Buying Gifts, Think Ethical
Lots of anti-human-trafficking nonprofits sell ethical, fair-trade goods as a way of funding their mission. Ours certainly does! We sell all kinds of products, from handmade soaps and bath products to the best chocolate you'll ever taste to beautiful, hand-crafted jewelry made by peoples at risk of human trafficking. A common myth about fair-trade products is that they are always super expensive. This actually isn't true! While it is very important to price products in a way that honors the hard work our partner artisans around the world invest into their creations, the items we sell are easily comparable to the prices you would see in many big chains. The difference, though, is that when you choose to buy from a nonprofit like ours, you'll know exactly where the item is coming from, and you'll know that the hands that made it are being compensated fairly and employed ethically, and that human trafficking is being combated in the process. Giving a gift to your special person AND to the world? Yes PLEASE! So, basically, the next time you have to get a gift for a birthday or holiday, think ethical!
3. Talk About It!
Remember the last time you went shopping with a friend and you walked by that sale rack full of super cheap, marked-down stuff? And maybe you thought to yourself: "how on earth is this stuff so cheap?" Or, "I wonder what they do with all the stuff they don't sell?" Well, the answer is normally that they throw it out. But that's another blog post. In the meantime, a third practical way that you can fight human trafficking is just to TALK about it! If you and your friend are both baffled by the seemingly endless pile of dirt-cheap clothes or jewelry or toys, try starting up a conversation about how those products could have been made by people far away who have no other option but to make those items for next to no compensation. When huge corporations outsource their production to countries where jobs are scarce and the legal requirements for minimum employee compensation are blurry or even nonexistent, it ends up being the people at the very bottom of the food chain whose labor gets exploited. Striking up a conversation about these kinds of human and labor trafficking injustices raises awareness and can even help stop the habits of excessive consumerism so often found in our culture.
What do you think about these practical ways of fighting human trafficking on an individual level? Would you consider trying any of them? Let us know in the comments below!