Have you ever had a moment in life where time seems to stand still and you know you will remember this moment for the rest of your life?
Yesterday I began reading a book for one of my college courses called: Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How we can Fight it by David Batstone. http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/about/ And I had one of those moments. This book tells the horrible stories of human trafficking - slave labor, children sold as sex slaves ... just unspeakable things. It's not like I didn't know this was happening. My husband and I talk about wanting to not purchase clothing made in India, or chocolate ... bit the truth is it's difficult in our culture to change habits of spending and consumption.
I read about a little boy and his sister who were sold and became slaves in a garlic factory - peeling tiny cloves of garlic (maybe to make the pre-cut garlic I like I buy because I'm to lazy to peel it myself?!?) hour after hour, after hour, after day, after week, after month, after year ... just peeling garlic and being staved and beaten and abused in every way.
And I could be PAYING the abusers of these children by my purchases and my comfortable lifestyle.
So what can we do? Well, for starters BUY LOCAL - but only produce grown in the US, work with local companies. And here are some sites that are valuable resources too. Is it easy to change? No - we are so used to being consumers and getting what we want with little or now work - but can we really afford to NOT change? I feel such a burden that now that I know what is going on I am even more responsible to fight and to be willing to sacrifice so that others can have a life.
Free to Work is a website that gives companies and brands a letter grade for if they are good (using fair trade methods and only purchasing from safe areas) or bad ( support human slavery). Check it out - you might be surprised! http://www.free2work.org/
For items that support fair trade and help people keep their freedom check out: www.tradeasone.com - there are food items as well as some pretty awesome gift ideas for Christmas coming up!
If we all do our part we can help free innocent children, women and men who are being treated horribly while they work to create the lavish lifestyle we live here in the states.
If you know better - DO better.