How many slaves do you have working for you?
According to Slavery Footprint, I have 25 slaves worldwide working to fuel my lifestyle. Here’s some general insights:
- 1.4 million children have been forced to work in Uzbek cotton fields. There are fewer children in the entire New York City public school system.
- Every day tens of thousands of American women buy makeup. Every day tens of thousands of Indian children mine mica, which is the little sparklies in the makeup.
- More than 200,000 children are forced to work in India’s carpet belt of Uttar Pradesh. That makes it a pretty large operation, considering Honda, Sony, Procter & Gamble, and Boeing each have fewer employees.
- Bonded labor is used for much of Southeast Asia’s shrimping industry, which supplies more shrimp to the U.S. than any other country. Laborers work up to 20-hour days to peel 40 pounds of shrimp. Those who attempt to escape are under constant threat of violence or sexual assault.
- Rubies are believed to be Burma’s second largest export after teak wood, and are commonly mined using forced labor. Mines are controlled by either the government or the army, who oversee workers in terrible conditions for little or no pay.
Fortunately, Call + Response campaign does not leave us mouths agape with no course of action. In an interview with CNN (part of CNN’s Freedom Project), one of the leaders of campaign Justin Dylan said:
“…what we didn’t want to do is create another calculator that only spits out bad news. What I believe is that people carry around stories and not necessarily statistics. So with Slavery Footprint we actually wanted to be able to tell you the story of your life and how it fits in with the globalized economy.”
Their “take action” step is to download their app, ask others to take the survey to assess their lives based on the supply chain of common items. As people spread the word, they also provide an opportunity for consumers to directly ask companies if they know the full chain of their materials and suppliers. This push for companies and consumers taking responsibility for products and the inspirational, personal platform are well worth the time.
Check out Dan Rivers’ piece following a simple gadget from Cambodia to Malaysia to London via the hands of a girl who just wants to go home: