Think shrimp, lipstick, toys when considering human trafficking. There are millions working in deplorable conditions to produce such goods as these that are sold in our supermarkets and local shops. We must ensure that the items we buy are ethical…
The supply chain for so many items is complex–with multiple layers, because of so much outsourcing of the initial materials to create the final products.
But campaigners trying to combat forced and child labor and poor working conditions have unveiled a variety of approaches they follow to ensure the goods they buy are ethical. Some activists have taken to boycotting certain products, others only buy brands that have been approved ethically. Some source alternative goods locally, while others have chosen simply to reduce their overall consumption.
One example that has been in the spotlight lately are the investigations that revealed that migrants were being trafficked into slavery to catch shrimp for Thailand’s multi-billion dollar seafood industry.
Mimi Vu, advocacy director of the Pacific Links Foundation, a Vietnamese charity, recently said, “Shrimp sourced from outside Vietnam makes me very uncomfortable. I’m very, very careful about that. I tend to look and see which companies are sourcing from where. Companies that are opaque about their supply chain, I try not to buy from them as much as possible.”
United Nation’s International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that nearly 21 million people today are victims of forced labor. And the crime generates $150 billion a year.
The British charity Anti-Slavery International on its website documents 122 products made by child laborers across 58 countries ranging from Latin America to Asia.
Children are used to mine gold, mica, diamonds, and coal as well as to produce cotton, sugar, tea, coffee, and cocoa.
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