Human Trafficking in Fashion Supply Chains
Now, we are still trying to get over the fact that someone in the twenty-first century is telling us that fast fashion is leading to global exploitation. Contributing to the 40 million people living in modern slavery. For too long businesses have built supply chains to drive financial profits at the expense of people and the environment.
It is Anti Slavery Day on 18th October 2019 we have written this article to educate, equip and encourage those who care about eradicating Human Trafficking to make a difference this week.
Slavery did not stop with its abolition in the 19th century. Instead, it has changed its face and continues to target people globally. Modern slavery affects people of all ages, genders, and races. More commonly affecting the most vulnerable people and communities who lack education and are suffering from poverty. There are 40 million people still in modern day slavery around the world and there are more slaves in the world today than ever in history.
Walk For Freedom is a global fundraising and awareness event. Rallying thousands of abolitionists, taking millions of steps, showing up in hundreds of cities all over the world, Walk For Freedom is an outward expression of our inward desire to see slavery completely abolished.
A21's UK office works in three main areas to help tackle the issue of human trafficking across the UK. They prevent trafficking through education and training programmes, protect victims through safe projects and fundraises to help the work of A21 globally.
A21’s strategy is to reach the vulnerable and disrupt the demand, rescue victims and seek justice against their captors and restore survivors equipping them to live independently. If you want to find out more about how you can get involved and help, follow this link.
ABOLISH SLAVERY WITH EACH STEP
@a21 @a21uk and #WalkForFreedom
Image credits: A21 Campaign
Slavery impacts us all, it’s in our fashion – people are used and bought as commodities for slave labour. Tricked into slavery. In southern India, over 200,000 girls are trafficked to work in clothing production. In addition to these countries, the US Department of Labour has identified 14 other countries where forced labour is allowed in clothing and jewellery supply chains.
Fashion is the 2ndlargest industry that has slavery within its supply chains. It is a huge contributor to the modern day slavery issue. Tell brands you wont accept this, we care about it and we need everyones support to stop this issue.
Today, out of the 40 million people who are victims of modern slavery worldwide around 16 million are in private sectors such as agriculture, production, and fashion. 58% of these people work in countries like China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan, countries known for their cotton production and garment factories.
People are being subject to toxic chemicals, hot irons, locked in factories – abused, tortured and worked from dawn until dusk. Slavery is persistent because traffickers think they can get away with it. In some countries you are more likely to be hit by lightening than to be caught having slaves.
So it is about training the police and communities to not allow it rather that just working with individuals. We work with both International Justice Mission and A21 to help eradicate trafficking within our life time. Check out our key partners on our website.
International Justice Mission works and trains local authorities to deal with the crisis so they can stop trafficking at its source. So far they have rescued 50,000 Victims.
Human trafficking is slavery.
It’s the illegal trade of human beings. It’s the recruitment, control, and use of people for their bodies and for their labor. Through force, fraud, and coercion, people everywhere are being bought and sold against their will–right now in the 21st century.
But phrases like ‘slavery’ and ‘human trafficking’ can still feel ambiguous. This is the reality: slavery is violence. It’s physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. It’s forced prostitution. It’s barbaric working conditions.
Slavery is more stoppable than ever, and that’s why we’re here, rallying around the world and doing the work together. - The A21 Campaign
The road to ethical fashion is made of transparency and traceability in every part of the supply chain. The fashion industry must educate itself in order to tackle slavery and transparent production is essential in educating consumers about ethical choices.
We are active citizens we can actively choose who we follow and we have the responsibility too do something for good. When we think that the issue is to big for us to solve it passes the responsibility on and we actually don’t do anything, we stop doing the little because we cannot see immediate outcomes.
If don’t rise up where will deliverance come from? We are free and therefore we should use our voice and resources to free the oppressed. We are meant to connect to one another to form something of significance – true compassion demands actions.
Whilst human trafficking is destroying lives we know that freedom will have the final word.
"When a lot of people do a little, it adds up and makes a difference."
– Christine Caine, A21 Founder
Image credits: A21 Campaign
As consumers, we have the power to choose to buy ethically, to commit ourselves to support brands and change fashion for the better. Educating ourselves about ethical alternatives, thinking about what we wear and learning about the stories and the journey behind responsible fashion is the right path to follow.
You might think we are just a fashion brand that produces clothes but actually Fabric For Freedom is about so much more than that. We use our means, our platform and our knowledge to make a difference in our area. With the massive influence fashion has on society surely we can make it positive? Fabric For Freedom was started to show that you can produce clothing in an ethical way whilst highlighting the issues in fashion and showing what we are doing to sort them.
We care about people and we were created to offer another resource to stop this horrific Human Trafficking Industry.
Speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves we were born out of a need to stand alongside those who justice does not reach, if we don’t rise up, where will deliverance come from? Empowered to lead, level out the playing field, be part of the solution - fashion fighting poverty, demand the impossible, those who honour conquer.
Fabric For Freedom produces clothing that is made without forced labour, exploitation, or human trafficking in the supply chain. We as consumers have to raise our awareness on this issue by choosing companies that educate employees, partners, suppliers, and customers on ethical production. We can support charity-based organisations that strengthen local governments and work with companies like Fabric For Freedom to fight exploitation.
We can make a real fashion statement with what we wear, making fashion safer for everyone, one garment at a time. Express our involvement by buying ethical, sustainable and conscious clothing. Sica Schmitz, the creator of the Fair-Trade Fashion Show in Los Angeles said: “We are all related to fashion, which means that we have all the power to solve it.”
Looking at the problems in the fashion industry may make it look like a dark place. It is easy to feel powerless when assessing the situation but small steps are essential.
Image Credits: Unicef
The Consuming Modern Slavery report says that consumers recognise that responsibilities are equally distributed between governments, companies, and consumers themselves.
Better laws, international cooperation, corporate transparency, social responsibility, clear information and awareness of our consumption methods are the starting points to eradicate modern slavery.
Image credits: A21 Campaign
We partner with incredible, purpose-led charities which operate globally to create respect, value and to improve the quality of living for others. These charities are passionate about eradicating poverty in working with and restoring those affected by human trafficking.
A21 is a non-profit organisation fuelled by the radical hope that human beings everywhere will be rescued from bondage and completely restored. By supporting A21, we are joining with them as the new abolitionists of the 21st century.
Image credits: A21 Campaign
We are also partnered with Freeset USA, a Fair Trade non-profit in business for freedom from oppression, poverty, & ignorance. Their mission is to bring freedom to communities in West Bengal, India and beyond through employment and education.
Freeset India also exists to offer employment to people who've been marginalized by society. They have strategically placed their facilities in communities written off by society because they believe these communities deserve to live a life of freedom.
Image Credits: Freeset India
Multiple petitions are already in place and you can help by adding another voice to these campaigns. In the aftermath of Fashion Revolution Week, a petition by Traidcraft Exchange asks the UK government to create a modern slavery database on the UK fashion industry. The petition, “Who made my clothes?”, aims to push the fashion industry to clean up its act. Although progress has been made, not every company is moving fast enough. For another slavery petition click here.
Sign the petition to add your voice. Educate yourself, choose well and buy consciously.