Sunday, June 20, 2010
Welcome HTP's Newest Contributor: Amanda Gould
Although my first introduction to human trafficking was through reading an article on youth temple prostitution in India, years later I became fascinated by the economics of human trafficking. By focusing on economics during my graduate degree, I began to see the problem of human trafficking in a new light, which ultimately unleashed a Pandora’s box of issues. Everyday products, including clothing and cell phones, became suspect because of their potential contamination through slave labor; something I realized only in part before. Conversations with friends and classmates turned to questions of ethics. Do we boycott stores for selling items that use slave labor? Would such a boycott lead to an increase in human trafficking and slave labor through the unemployment of innocent parties? As a person who did not want to benefit from slave labor, I was overwhelmed. I could not inspect every factory or field to ensure my purchases were slave free but I had another important tool that I could use, my demand. It became clear that if enough customers demanded slave free products and increased corporate accountability they would get it. Suddenly, I realized that our community has so many tools to fight human trafficking and modern slavery right at our fingertips. Through my blogs, I will study some of the products we come in to contact with that might contain slave labor in the production process and what the community can do to fight it. This is meant to empower us as a community and not as a tool for guilt (few people would willingly give up their cell phones). I am convinced that an informed community of consumers (whether students, factory workers, teachers or CEOs) armed with practical ideas can hold companies accountable and fight for a more just, slave free world.