‘Is your bargain more sinister than it appears?’ #ModernDaySlavery
The Christmas period has become synonymous with consumerism. Black Friday, Boxing Day and January sales, all with one common theme – finding the best deal. What we don’t often realise is that however good the bargain is, what you’re purchasing may be more sinister than it appears.
What are we referring to, you ask? Slavery. A widespread, global issue with an estimated 40-45 million people live in slavery today* and a vast majority of those are in forced labour and exploitation, most likely most likely producing your Christmas gifts. Modern Slavery manifests itself on our doorstep, not only in the estimated 13,000 victims of modern slavery and human trafficking in the U.K today, but also in the products we buy, the food we eat and the lives we chose to ignore. Stop and ask yourself, is that price too good to be true? The real cost could be human lives and human dignity.
Money fuels slavery. Slavery is known as one of the most profitable enterprises in the world with an estimated annual profit of $150 billion. Understanding the products we buy, beyond their primary value, enables us to speak with our money and support brands that you are proud to be an advocate of. So, before you go out and purchase your holiday season bargains, take a moment and think. How can I really make a difference, no matter how small it may be? Every small action you take, could play a part in helping to combat modern day slavery.
So where do you start? We’ve put together a guide to help you make more ethical purchases this holiday season. Think before you buy – your purchases could have an impact beyond their sale price.
Wondering how ethical you are? Why not try this insightful website that tracks your slavery footprint: www.slaveryfootprint.org
The Modern Slavery Act of 2015 was a pioneer of legislation against human trafficking. The act promised heightened political consciousness and support from the government against modern slavery. One fundamental aspect of it addresses the transparency of businesses across their supply chains. Transparency is essential in illuminating the daily realities of modern slavery and combatting human trafficking.
The fashion market is one business infamous for numerous scandals of human right exploitations and profiteering from modern day slavery. War on want’s anti-sweatshop campaign ‘Love Fashion, Hate Sweatshops’ breathes new meaning into the phrase ‘fashion victims’, whereby the true victims of fashion are revealed. Films such as The True Cost expose the dark realities of the global market and sweatshops. However, movements such as the Fashion Revolution, are now questioning “who made my clothes” and apps such as Not My Style encourage more engagement with supply chains not only from business, but also from the consumer.
“With Fairtrade you have the power to change the world every day. With simple shopping choices you can get farmers a better deal. And that means they can make their own decisions, control their futures and lead the dignified life everyone deserves.”
Here are some Fairtrade brands we recommend that are transparent across their supply chains and hold social consciousness at their core:
“We are committed to producing garments of the highest quality while being honest and transparent in our practices. It is easy to ignore people we don’t know. So, let’s change that”
Visible Clothing – recommended on the Fairtrade website, Visible Clothing offers fashion for men, women and children. They believe in total visibility and have a strong commitment to ethics. Motivated by sustainability and fair treatment of all workers, their core values of fairness, sustainability, and fun visible clothing guarantees a DNA of fairness behind its people, products and pricing. To find out more about them, watch their story.
“How you buy your clothing impacts millions of people and communities around the world.”
Know the Origin is majorly focused on transparency from ‘Seed to Garment’. This ethical clothing organisation champions respect towards people and the environment by maintaining Fairtrade practices, using organic cotton and consistently visiting all parts of their supply chain to ensure transparency and the protection of workers dignity and rights across all manufacturing aspects. Watch this video to find out more.
“Fashion that’s fairer for women.”
Birdsong’s fundamentals are ‘no sweatshops, no photoshop’. Originally created to fight against the exploitation of women workers in the fashion industry, they are also passionate about and dedicated to demystifying the female form, showing the reality of what women look like by using unedited models. For more information see here.
“From migrant seamstresses to knitting grannies, we connect women from worker to wearer.”
“When you wear People Tree, you look good and feel good knowing your unique garment was made with respect for people and the planet.”
People Tree – providing Fairtrade fashion for over 25 years, People Tree is a pioneer in ethical and sustainable fashion. Rated as one of the most exemplary brands for Fairtrade fashion, its ethos is all around respecting people and the planet and they are accredited by the WFTO, the Fairtrade Foundation, and the Soil Association. The brand is also against the fast fashion industry and is part of the Slow Fashion movement. Guaranteeing environmental and social responsibility is at the heart of what they do. Find out more.
One area of shopping that is underestimated for its gift buying value whilst simultaneously giving back are charity shops. They’re great for recycling items whilst also breaking the direct chain of production from factories. Moreover, they are great for that much sought-after bargain!
To help, below is a list of common high street charity stores in the UK:
Be more aware
Why not give the gift of awareness this Christmas? Below is a list of books which we recommend for those interested in finding out more about the issues surrounding modern day slavery:
The Sophie Hayes story – Trafficked
If you haven’t already read our founding story, this personal account is central to The Sophie Hayes Foundation. Sophie was a white, middle class, British girl sex trafficked from the U.K into Italy. This account speaks of her grooming and horrific ordeal when she realised she was to be forced to work on the streets for her trafficker, to finally being able to escape his exploitation and share her story.
Sunny Angel – Wings
A touching, personal survivor’s account of grooming, exploitation and manipulation. Sunny now shares her story Wings as a symbol of hope and survival, preaching that there is ‘no shame in being a victim’ and not to suffer in silence.
Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn – Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
An inspiring book that speaks to the human rights and global oppression of women. An essential book on female voices that even motivated some of our team at Sophie Hayes to dedicate their time to join the fight against Human Trafficking!
Anna Ruston Secret Slave
Another personal account of a British girl kidnapped, abused as a sex slave for 13 years and prostituted by her captor.
Christmas is a time for giving thanks and charity. Asking for a donation in place of a gift or simply donating money this Christmas to a worthy cause like The Sophie Hayes Foundation is a really simple way to make an impact in helping to combat modern day slavery. All donations will help us to support and empower survivors of human trafficking and help them build their hope-filled futures.
For more information on our involvement and how fight against modern day slavery and human trafficking, visit: www.sophiehayesfoundation.org.
If you want to Donate to The Sophie Hayes Foundation click here.
This festive season, think about buying gifts that speak beyond their primary purpose to a wider community of humans. Be mindful with your money. Your purchases could be contributing to protecting the rights of workers.
Written by: Sakira Intrabal
Edited by: Michelle Moreland
For more related reading go to:
The ILO & Walkfree Foundation
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