It's a topic that has been plaguing me for a while. It's a topic that is very trendy and I think that's part of what has bothered me about it. But it's also a topic that God has been speaking to my heart for a while.
We are going to spend the next several months unpacking this topic here on Missional Women. I hope to be able to give you a little more insight into exactly what Fair Trade is and why, to a Christian who is living missionally, it should be so important.
To jump right into it. Fair Trade means exactly that.
Fair trade (n)- trade in which fair prices are paid to producers in developing countries.
So basically, fair trade describes products that were produced and the employees or artists who produced them were paid a fair wage. In other words, there is no child labor, there is no slave labor.
Did it ever occur to you that the products you buy may be supporting the slave trade in another country?
Scary thought, right.
There's this little quiz you can take online where you can basically input information about your buying habits and about your house and family and they give you a glimpse of how many slaves may be working for you.
I took the Slavery Footprint survey here and as it turns out, I have 36 slaves working for me.
When that number popped up on the screen, there was this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I have never knowingly purchased anything that was produced by slaves.
To be honest, I didn't even know until a few years ago that slavery still existed.
Here are some numbers (because I'm a nerd like that).**
*There are an estimated 20-30 million people enslaved in the world today.
*Modern day slavery covers everything from human trafficking and prostitution to bonded labor and forced labor.
*Human trafficking is considered the third largest international crime industry (ranking behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking).
*In 2009, the average price of a slave was $90.
So you may be wondering what free trade or modern day slavery may have to do with you.
Let me ask you some questions.
1. Do you own any cotton shirts?
2. Do you own a cell phone?
3. Do you drink coffee?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be inadvertently supporting the modern day slave industry too.
Over the next several months, we are going to unpack this topic as it relates to our purchases and our purchasing power. I believe that as Christians, we have the power to change the world. We are commanded to change the world. And that may just start with my wallet.
I hope you'll join me on this journey. I hope our generation will be the generation that will stand up and say that we don't value saving money on clothes and coffee over a human life. I hope our generation will be the generation that will educate themselves about issues like this and not just turn a blind eye and walk the other way into the mall to buy the latest and greatest fad.
**The facts stated in this post can be found here.
Kerry Todd is married to her best friend, Denny, and has one daughter, Alivea. She is passionate about missions and about orphans and she loves watching the church be the church. She and her husband have adopted one daughter and are in the process of adopting another child. She writes at my life (his mission) all about how God has wrecked her heart for the orphan and how she has found new life in the midst of infertility. You can keep up with all of her craziness on her blog, facebook, and twitter.
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As the poverty rate increases, the political climate tensions, and households everywhere seem whirling in uncertainty, increasingly hard times can leave people paralyzed along seas of desperation. Hearing the world’s birth pains, feeling the contractions of those struggling can overwhelm with guilt-induced deafness when faced with the reality, “We just can save them all.” As a result, instead of swimming with the broken, it can seem easier to stay frozen, watching from dry land, letting fear blind us to those drowning with needs, faking disablement while the life preserver of hope dangles vainly around our neck.