The Fourth Day of Freedom

4th Day of Freedom : Let’s make some changes in our buying habits. Most people do not realize that we as consumers help fuel child labor/Labor trafficking. A majority of the things that we purchase and consume have some type of slave labor behind it. So this weekend do something about it! Buy a Fair Trade product, whether it’s Fair Trade Coffee or sugar or even Chocolate. Take it a step further and encourage a friend to buy a Fair Trade Product. Please visit FairTradeUSA.org for a list of Fair Trade Products. Small changes such as this can help make a difference.

 

If a United States citizen were to plant crops, sell them and be given a wage far lower than what the product was worth because distributors were taking more than their fair amount of the profits, there would be an uproar. In the United States, people might not always get the justice they deserve, but at least they have a platform to speak on. In other countries, that we rely on heavily to supply us with crops that we use daily, there aren’t always such places to voice unhappiness about wages. Not only are people not given fair payment, but often times the production or harvesting of products and foods we buy is done with child labor and labor trafficking. By purchasing Fair Trade products you can help to put an end to utilizing child labor and trafficking. Trafficking is a business almost entirely fueled by greed. If people decided they were only going to buy products produced and harvested fairly, imagine the impact that would have on the traffickers. If no one is buying the products their victims are making or harvesting, then what use do they have for acquiring more laborers or keeping the ones they have?

Not everyone who makes products or farms is a trafficking victims though. Sometimes it’s simply just farmers in developing countries doing the best they can to support themselves and their families and they’re being cheated out of all of the money they should be earning. It’s easy to forget that food, clothes, shoes, sporting equipment, etc, doesn’t just show up on our stores’ shelves. People make or grow all of the products we use daily. How would you feel if you spent your savings on producing a crop to ship to the United States and were paid a fraction of what it was worth. If you were trafficked to harvest that crop you might not be given a wage at all.

Technology has made it so easy to find and connect with dozens and dozens of companies that sell Fair Trade items. The more you learn about trafficking, the harder it will be to stomach knowing that you are purchasing products made by trafficking victims and you will want to join the Fair Trade movement. So go online and check out:

serrv.org

fairtradeusa.org

handcraftingjustic.cedris.org

fairtrade.org.uk

tenthousandvillages.com/fair-trade

globalgoodspartners.org

and see how you can help ensure people earn what they deserve for the work they do that we so desperately need!

 

By: Danae Zimmer

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Transportation Unions Join Fight Against

It was recently announced by the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO that they have joined the fight against human trafficking. This is amazing news since traffickers tend to use our Highways throughout the U.S to transport victims of labor trafficking and sex trafficking. We know that traffickers move their victim, from city to city, state to state as a way to keep them isolated. By members of the TTD becoming involved, maybe more victims of human trafficking will be identified and rescued. For more details, here is the official press release.

ORLANDO, FL—The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), has joined the battle to thwart the scourge of human trafficking that is being carried out in the nation’s transportation system.

“As many as 27 million women, men and children are sold into prostitution, domestic servitude or other forced labor in dark corners across the globe,” the TTD Executive Committee declared at its annual winter meeting, pointing out that those involved in the human trafficking trade regularly “whisk their victims” throughout our transportation system.

“Our rank-and-file members are in a unique position to contribute to this global fight since human trafficking occurs in their workplaces,” said TTD President Edward Wytkind.

In a unanimously adopted policy statement, the Executive Committee endorsed the Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative led by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“We commend Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for leading on this critical issue and for seeking a partnership with transportation unions whose members are the eyes and ears of our transportation system that can help identify human trafficking enterprises,” Wytkind said.

The TTD 33-member Executive Committee pledged to combine leadership, education and training, and public awareness and outreach efforts, with hopes of having a “collective impact to combat this atrocity head on.”

Last October, DOT joined the DHS Blue Campaign and began training all 55,000 DOT employees and 20,000 contractors on ways to identify common signs of human trafficking. And Amtrak, most of whose workers belong to TTD-affiliated unions, has committed to training its 20,000 employees on tactics for identifying and reporting suspected instances of human trafficking. Other employers are following suit.

The Third Day of Freedom

3rd Day of Freedom: Attend an anti-Human Trafficking awareness event. Learn more about the issue of human trafficking. Encourage others to attend as well.

If you are interested in wanting to join the fight against human trafficking, one of the most important things you can do it attend an anti-trafficking event. Not only will you be taught valuable information about human trafficking but you’ll be surrounded by experts in the field as well as others who are just passionate about putting an end to it. If you’re interested in attending an event, but nervous that you’ll be awkwardly standing around with no one to talk to, encourage your friends to go with you. Not only will you feel more comfortable taking part in whatever type of activities there are, but you’ll be helping to educate others about human trafficking just by bringing them. There is such a wide variety of events that organizations host all over the country and world to raise awareness about this modern day slavery. If you know of an anti- trafficking organization in your area, log on to their website and check to see if they have an “events” or “calendar” page; chances are they do. The link to the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking’s calendar is: http://www.stophumantrafficking.org/calendar.html. You can also find events happening all over the country at: http://freedomcommons.ijm.org/events. These are events from just two organizations but finding ones close to home is as easy as typing “anti-trafficking events (and your city’s name)” into a search engine. Sometimes organizations will host meetings just to let people in the community know the basics about what they do, human trafficking in general, how you can get involved, etc, and those can be a great first step. Many colleges also have anti-trafficking organizations on campus that host events that are open to the public. Something to keep in mind that has been brought to my attention lately is that you don’t need to be the foremost expert on trafficking or dedicate your life to its eradication to make a difference or attend an event. I’ve felt a lot of guilt after working with community partners in school because I haven’t been able to dedicate my entire life to helping them, but if I dedicated my life to helping all of the causes I felt passionate about, I’d need about 60 lives. If you find that stopping trafficking is something you feel very passionate about, that’s fantastic! But, even of you just attend an event and spread the word about what you learned there, that can have an impact too. Maybe you’ll attend lots of events that raise awareness about a whole variety of topics from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (http://www.ciw-online.org/index.html) or the Farmworker Association of Florida (http://www.floridafarmworkers.org/index.php/upcoming-events) about getting fair wages and working conditions for the farmworkers, to Take Back the Night by the Sexual Violence Task Force of Tampa Bay (http://www.svtftampabay.com/takebackthenight2013.htm), and of you spread what you’ve learned and teach just one other person about an injustice in the world, perhaps it can inspire them to get involved. The goal of any event is to raise money to fight an injustice and/or to simply raise awareness about it. By taking part and sharing your experience, you can make a world of difference.

By: Danae Zimmer