How Many Slaves Are Working for You? Find Your Slavery Footprint

Most of us look back in horror at the slavery of the past. But how many of us know that slavery is still present and burgeoning today? And that many of the products we use on a daily basis -- from our electronics to our clothes to what we eat -- are saddled on the backs of that forced labor, especially through the supply chains?

Made in a Free World has created a website (and a mobile app) with a survey that we can take to find out how many slaves are working for us, based on our choices.

As we take the survey, answering questions about where we live, the kinds of products we buy, the foods we eat, the sports we play, etc., the site includes little factoids along the way, giving us tidbits of information about slaves around the world (including in the U.S.). For people interested in greater accuracy, there's a "fine tune"  widget that lets us refine our answers.

At the end of the survey, we discover how many slaves are working for us, based on our answers (and assumptions about our habits based on those answers). From there we can share the survey via social media, write letters to companies asking them to examine their supply chains, download the mobile app, or sign in and take action to win ourselves "Free World points" to help us lower our scores.

How does Made in a Free World determine our slavery footprints? They base their numbers on multiple sources about the processes used to create these products, and about slave labor in the countries in which these raw materials are processed. (You can find out more about their methods here.)

For sparking awareness, this is a terrific tool. It also offers a nice balance of emphasizing personal responsibility and of working to influence the systems in place. The site would be even stronger if it could actually link us to information about companies who can verify that their supply chains don't include slave labor, as well as to companies for which it's known that their products include slave labor somewhere down the line. It could also benefit from offering additional suggestions to people for positive action (such as buying less, shopping at thrift stores, borrowing from friends, purchasing used, making your own beauty products, etc.). And it would be useful to see more information about the issues and source products themselves, even if it were just links to pre-existing, reputable sources (such as Products of Slavery). But, that's a lot to ask of one website.

Take the survey to find your slavery footprint, and then take positive action to help reduce that number and to educate others about their own power to do more good and less harm.

~ Marsha

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