Demanding Ethically Made Items in Every Day Stores

Over and over again it is asked of Justice Network, “How do I know if something is slave made or involves human trafficking or not?” or “How can I even do anything to make a difference with such a large corporation?”

The answer is sometimes more simple than expected. 
To find out about companies and what they are doing to make a difference in the world against slavery, there are loads of companies that put out full reports of ethics and sustainability.  If you don’t see anywhere on their website about such things, it is most likely created with slave labor.  As an example, if you go to the Apple website, they have a whole section about Supplier Responsibility and a progress report for 2015 so you can read in full more about what they do to help those who work down in their supply chain and how they are trying to fight any slavery that may still be in their line of work.  If you go to the Microsoft Windows page, they have nothing at all about working against slavery in their supply chain and anything about their ethics.  They are more out to please the consumer when you read through their site. It should be easy to find and it isn’t at all because there is nothing to find.  They are vague and have no report.  This cues you in on who is working on caring more for their workers or not.

What comes next then?
Next would be to develop a letter or email to ask that the company release full information of their supply chain and what they are doing to end possible slavery and trafficking within their company.  If no progress is made, how are you going to know your products were made with the care for the “little man”? If they care for the consumer who cares for the “little man” there will be a push in the company to bring that about.  Change can happen when you speak out and contact companies.

Over the past eight years, there have been drastic changes made in many companies as human trafficking awareness has spread out and people have spoken up in their curiosities and concerns.  An example of this is of the few years in which petitions went out against chocolate companies, and now we know that Hershey and Mars want to be completely slave free by 2020 and are working hard against it.  All it took was filling out a form and clicking a button and people sending in letters that demanded a change.  It will be great to see these very large companies become slave-free when 2020 comes about!  It will help those who still know little about slavery in chocolate to become more curious about where the rest of their chocolates come from.

We can now see small businesses and ethically created products go into areas of large stores.  For instance, Badala, who now has a section of their handmade products by women living in poverty in Africa, are being sold in Target stores in the Chicago area.  This helps those walking by or shopping to know that their store is making a difference in wanting to help these women and their families.  This is a little step that can create large differences.  Eventually, imagine these stores selling completely ethically made and slave free products everywhere!  Target is making strives towards this already! We hope to see this done in all stores in our lifetime!

Badala’s section at a Target store in Chicago with an explanation of their company on the display for all to see. (picture from their website)

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