If you’re a 20-something renter who owns a laptop, a bike and a fair amount of shoes, you probably have close to 100 slaves working for you.
Slavery Footprint launched a lifestyle survey Thursday to show consumers how many forced laborers–of the 27 million worldwide–have contributed to making anything you might find in a medicine cabinet to a gym bag. The nonprofit crafted the questionnaire, which asks about your food, clothes and hobbies, after investigating what goes into producing about 400 everyday items. The results aim to inform customers and put pressure on companies to disclose their labor practices.
“[Slavery] is in everything,” Justin Dillon, chief executive of Slavery Footprint, told the Huffington Post. “It’s in every product. It’s not just tracing one element on the periodic table.” The nonprofit defines slavery as “anyone who is forced to work without pay, being economically exploited and is unable to walk away.”
Before developing Slavery Footprint, Dillon directed the 2008 documentary on the topic, “Call + Response” and established Chain Store Reaction, a campaign that helps customers ask companies to disclose their labor procedures.
Inspired by the way Chain Store Reaction galvanized people into writing more than 100,000 letters to companies, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked the organization to develop a model akin to carbon footprinting. She wanted to calculate how connected consumers are with human trafficking.
“People have to own this issue for themselves,” Dillon said. “This has to be something they think about when they go out and buy things, when they look at their kids.”
But Dillon isn’t interested in vilifying companies that turn a blind eye to forced labor. Rather, he hopes to enlighten consumers and encourage them to tell the brands they love to be upfront about the ways they intend to fight slavery practices.
Slavery Footprint (Website)