Buy Responsibly

Our demand for cheaper products is one of the big drivers behind human trafficking in a number of industries, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear to the houses we live in. In fact, slavery in the production of consumer goods is so pervasive, I can guarantee that both you and I own at least a handful of items made by slaves; we have eaten food grown, harvested, or produced by slaves. So if we are going to get serious about ending human trafficking, we need to take the Buy Responsibly campaign's message to heart and make an effort to purge our buying habits of slave-made goods.

So does that mean you should boycott every industry that has used slavery? No. For one, it's not a very sustainable lifestyle choice. Information about which products have been tainted by slavery is often outdated or inaccurate. Plus, the use of human trafficking in supply chains is so prolific, you'd be starving and naked before long, and very few people are willing to live like that voluntarily. While boycotts have changed and can improve corporate behaviour, boycotting may put non-trafficked workers' jobs at risk, making some workers worse off. Before considering boycotting a certain product, think about who will profit from and who will be affected by the boycott. If you do boycott, make specific demands and agree to end the boycott when those demands are met.

Another effective way to buy more responsibly is to buy products from companies that have a commitment to fair labor practices. When given a choice between a Fair Trade item and another one, go with the Fair Trade option. Choose products from companies with reputations for treating workers fairly. Tell companies that the rights of workers is an important consideration in your choice of products. These may seem like very small steps, but as companies see that fair labor standards are important to consumers, they will meet that demand like they now meet our demand for low prices.


MercyRising said…
Good comments.

No one really wants to boycott companies or products, but I can't support the really large ones with the worst reps.

I like that you mentioned that we need to tell the companies why we are no longer buying their products.

Thanks for your work for justice!

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