The things we buy are decisions we make about the world we want. With Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday gift-giving season beginning soon, it’s important to reflect on how everyday purchases can unknowingly fuel modern slavery and the racial inequality it creates.
Clothing, jewelry, electronics and food are products commonly tainted by forced labor. Sometimes it is sweatshop slavery in manufacturing factories or processing facilities. Often raw materials are the problem — from cocoa and cotton to gold and specialized metals used in computers and cell phones.
In rural India it’s a familiar sad story: 24 teenage boys were tricked and taken away from their families.The families of the missing boys tried to help, but they were too powerless to act.
They were lured from their homes in rural India and trapped at a bakery in a faraway city.
The boys had been forced to work secretly in a bakery at night, then slept in sweltering brick barracks on the bakery roof all day. They could not leave the compound, and were commanded to stay out of sight. The teens endured abuse, exhaustion and hunger. They were all finally freed in a dramatic raid made possible by grassroots community organizing.
Our friends at 522 Productions have volunteered their time to produce a vivid video reminder of the impact that the globalized economy has on vulnerable individuals from disadvantaged groups. I hope you will take one minute to see how we’re all connected to systems of modern slavery. Please share this video with friends to raise awareness about the need to be mindful when buying holiday gifts.
Buying fair-trade certified gifts is a good choice to break slavery’s chain of exploitation.
And making a contribution to Free the Slaves on behalf of a family member, friend or neighbor allows our front-line programs to help communities resist human traffickers and become slavery free.
Thank you for spreading the word and investing in freedom and equality worldwide.