Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Announcing the Fair Trade Winner

Congratulations to Avra Cohen of Fight Slavery Now!

Late last month, Amanda with
End Human Trafficking and I challenged our readers to find slavery-free options for two lists of products. Avra Cohen supplied the most comprehensive response for both lists. According to Cohen, FightSlaveryNow.Org investigates products and awards a "Freedom Seal" to items that have not been made utilizing modern-day slavery.

In response to our challenge, Cohen wrote, "Since we had a head start on many of these product categories, I thought this would be a challenge easily met. It was not. But it has been fun and enlightening. . . For some products it was easy to find a large selection of Fair Trade alternatives, while for other products there were few or none." I think it is worth considering why some products have many fair-trade options, whereas other items that we use daily seem to only offer questionable options at best.

Cohen went above and beyond the directions of our challenge, including a variety of sources that in addition to being fair-trade and slavery free, also met eco-sustainability standards and are free from animal cruelty. Many products also directly support the original maker of the product, and many support social justice issues.

As Cohen noted, "there is nothing better than supporting your local craftspersons, farmers, and merchants. Ask about the materials involved and if applicable, about the labor practices that attend production. This has the double benefit of raising awareness about these issues, and expanding the market for slave-free sustainable goods."

Enjoy the list!

Couch: close...


TV: Well, almost...

According to Cohen, this product provoked some controversy.





Coffee Table

Coffee. Several options, including Veronica's Cup.


Chocolate Bar: The world's first slave-free chocolate bar and another delicious option.

Underwear and a bonus video "Eco-Boudoir, More Than Pretty Knickers."

MP3 Player (one option).

Pencil with bonus pencil box and sharpener.

Strawberries: As Cohen points out, this raises questions about fair trade vs. food miles; Cohen advocates supporting your local greenmarket and joing the Community Supported Agriculture Movement. Or plant your own!

Lipstick/Lip Gloss

Pillow: Many options.

Water Bottle (too many good choices, according to Cohen, though this one won for product, value, and overall philosophy).

Wallet: Again, many options.

Extra Credit:
Sneakers and USB drive.

Also, check out the Ethical Superstore for a wide variety of Fair Trade Products if you are looking for something not on our lists!

Finally, Cohen leaves us with another challenge: Who will make the first slave-free mobile phone? Read "Blood Tantalum' in your mobile phone" and "Murder, Rape, All for Your Cell Phone."

Again, congratulations to Avra Cohen for this incredible list. Please consider supporting socially conscious options whenever possible, and let the companies you patronize know that you want them to be slavery-free.


  1. Thanks to both yourself and Amanda Kloer for dreaming up this challenge. Our group learned a lot, and we were happy to be able to share what we learned. Such is the pleasure of collaborative action.
    I do however wish to point out that it was indeed a group effort, and I was only the appointed scribe.
    Please continue to produce fine work, it is much valued and appreciated!
    Peace, Justice, and Freedom... Avra (FightSlaveryNow.Org)

  2. Thank you very much for including our coffee table in your list, we've only just launched the site so to be in such company is a great vote of confidence in the site! Please visit again :)
    Best, Lauren