Facts are dangerous. Especially true once you become better informed about slavery around the world. Unfortunately, slaves may also be working in a restaurant or a health club or spa near you. (read David Batstone’s book “Not For Sale” to see where his passion to end human trafficking started) Once you are finished reading this blog post or after taking the Slavery Footprint survey, you will realize that the very clothes you wear, the food you eat and the computer that you are reading this from were probably prepared by slave hands in far off countries. Here are the ugly factoids I picked off the website “Slavery Footprint” and the survey you too can take to find out how many slaves work for you.
Fact #1 – Twenty-seven million (27,000,000) slaves worldwide – roughly combines the population of New Zealand and Australia.
Fact #2 – Pakistan uses boys in bonded labor starting at age 13, their contracts end at age 30.
Fact #3 – In 2007, “Save the Children” reported that 250,000 children live and work at Pakistan brick kilns. They are in complete social isolation. That’s more than the population of Irving, CA, Baton Rouge, LA or Orlando, FL.
Fact #4 – More than 200 children are forced to work in India’s carpet belt of Ultar Pradesh. That makes it a pretty large operation combining Honda, Sony, Proctor and Gamble, Boeing each hire fewer employees.
Fact #5 – Bonded labor is used for much of the Southeast Asian’s shrimping industry, which supplies more shrimp to the U.S. than any other country. Laborers work up to 20 hours a day to peel 40 pounds of shrimp. Those who attempt to escape are under constraint and threat of violence or sexual assault.
Fact #6 – Every day tens of thousands of American women buy make-up. Every day tens of thousands of Indian children mine mica which is the little sparkles in the make-up.
Fact #7 – Rubies are believed to be Burma’s second largest export after teak wood and are commonly mined using forced labor. Mines are controlled by either the government or army who oversee workers in terrible conditions for little or no pay.
Fact #8 – Coltan is an effective superconductor found in electronics. A U.S. State Dept. official was interviewed about coltan mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He pointed to the reporter’s smartphone and said “The likelihood that one of these was not touched by a slave is pretty low.” [That's more diplomatic than saying, "That smartphone you are using was made by a slave from Congo."]
Fact #9 – In China, soccer ball manufacturers will work up to 20 hours in a day for a month straight. Even the toughest American coaches wouldn’t ask that from their squads.
Fact #10 – 1.4 million children have been forced to work in Uzbek cotton fields. There are fewer children in the entire New York City public school system.
Ten questions get to the heart of what we should all be very much aware of, the facts placed on the side of the “Slavery Footprint” survey are just to stir our imaginations as to the deprivation and sadness that must be in so many families around the globe. The likes of which most Americans haven’t a clue about. I would say that if there are any anti-American feelings, it is because many Americans would prefer to think about their own problems and not reach out to those who are at the very bottom of the food chain. Ugly facts are hard to ignore once you DO know the truth.
You can do something about it, read my past posts to see what websites my grab your attention. Go to YouTube and watch Stellasvoice or listen to 19 year old Natalie’s interview. Don’t just sit there, DO something!!!