Posts tagged David Batstone

Slavery Footprint and Ugly Factoids (Part III)

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!!!

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Tyler Perry’s “Madea Goes to Jail” movie

Some critical readers may think human trafficking has nothing to do with Kazakhstan. Unaffected, privileged Kazakhs in high places especially would just as soon I don’t continue to write on my blog about slavery in Central Asia.  Why am I featuring this sordid topic on what initially was supposed to be my perspective on Kazakhstan?  Maybe it IS relevant…maybe not. I remain undeterred, even though my message on this blog has veered from higher education in Central Asia, the truth will out itself eventually.

Trafficking is happening all around us, slavery is alive and well today, not only in Kazakhstan, but every place that has grueling poverty.   Perhaps those in places of power in Kazakhstan want the rest of the world to think their country has oil money and political influence. These clueless, “important” people want Kazakhstan to appear like Dubai by looking at the modern architecture in the major cities of Almaty and Astana. However, the age old slavery problem exists behind many of these walls and in the mentality of those in power. Prosperity exists for a few but if you go just an hour outside of either of these cities into the rural areas, the lack of education, joblessness and poverty is there.

Sadly, the U.S. has NOT “arrived” yet either.  We have our wealth but we also have desperate people who are not living out their dreams in the land of opportunity.  Though that has been our American cultural tradition, hope and opportunity.  Every day I’m finding out that we have slavery and human trafficking in my home state of Minnesota.

Last night my husband and I watched another movie by Tyler Perry that has a mostly black cast.  “Madea Goes to Jail” is funny in places and too close to the truth painful in others. Even Viola Davis had a role in this Tyler Perry  movie  where she was working a prison ministry in jail.  (Viola Davis will probably get an Academy award for her prominent part in “The Help.”)  Other cameo shots were Dr. Phil, Whoopi Goldberg, Sharpton and other women from “The View.”  Those were the funny parts, the other ugly parts showed a black woman named Candy who was caught up in prostitution and was to be the slave to her pimp.  You’ll have to check this movie out to see what happened to Candy.

What can people do to help out with this raging problem and epidemic of human trafficking? See below some simple ideas to pursue that I got from the “Not for Sale” website.  Right now I am reading “Not For Sale” by David Batstone.  Some of the stories as told by those who have been enslaved and fortunate enough to escape are terrifying and riveting.  I challenge YOU to do something, to become aware of what is happening around the globe. JUST DO SOMETHING to help eradicate slavery globally and in your own backyard!!!

30 seconds – Follow @Not_For_Sale on Twitter – twitter.com/not_for_sale

One minute – Join the underground e-mail list – Not for Sale campaign.org

3 minutes – Download the Free2Work Application – free2work.org/app

5 minutes – Fuel the Abolitionist movement – Not for sale campaign.org/donate

1 hour – Research slavery in your own backyard – slavery map.org

1 day – Bring Not for Sale to your community – Not for Sale Campaign.org/tour

2 days – Attend the Global Forum on Human Trafficking – Global forum on human trafficking.org Sunnyvale, CA, Oct. 20-21

3 days – Read “Not for Sale” book by David Batstone, go to notforsale.org

1 week – Train in smart activism at NFS Academy – NFSacademy.org

1 month – Commit $28 to Emancipation as a Backyard Abolitionist

6 months – Become a full-time fellow for NFS

1 year – Lead your local community Abolitionist Network

Lifetime – Together we can END slavery!!!

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“Not for Sale” book and other intentional thoughts

Yesterday I received a book in the mail titled “Not for Sale: The return of the global slave trade – and how we can fight it.”  David Batstone is the author and co-founder to the organization “Not for Sale” which started 4 1/2 years ago in San Francisco.  Hopefully once I read this book I will regain hope in my fellow world sojourners that we can DO something to eradicate this crime of slavery and human trafficking. It reads on the back of the book “Advisory: This book deals with mature subject matter.”  Of course if a teenager comes across that kind of warning they may be curious and actually want to READ the book.  In any case, I may skip the gory details and get the salient message of HOPE of how we can fight this evil.

I need hope after what about ten of us women did this past weekend in raising over one thousand dollars to send back to Kazakhstan to help aid the shelters there for trafficked victims, men and women.  Don’t get me wrong, I am very optimistic that informed people want to do something for trafficked victims all the way across the world.  But I’m discouraged for two reasons. First, we have the same problem of human trafficking here in this state of Minnesota and throughout the U.S.  Maybe I heard too many stories from people who came to our sale. I would judge about 200 people came through our doors.  We had several generous money donations from about five individuals. The rest of the stuff at our rummage sale went for 50 cents each.  Thankfully we had people donate their clothes and other cast-off items because they knew this was for a good cause. Second, I’m feeling very sad because so few westerners really do know what is going on in the rest of the world.  We eat (chocolate), drink (coffee) and wear clothes that is the result of others who were perhaps exploited in their manual labor.

This past weekend I heard about a book titled “Where Am I Wearing: a global tour to the countries, factories and people that make our clothes.”  What is with books and their long subtitles?  Anyway, when I put on my clothes today after a deep freeze from last night, I saw that my turtleneck was made in Vietnam, my fleece top made in Taiwan, my favorite jeans in Mexico…and my rawhide slippers have the Cabela trademark but not sure where they were put together. Maybe the U.S.?

We have to ask ourselves, as the author Kelsey Timmerman did, where were my clothes made that I’m wearing.  More importantly, how much was the laborer NOT paid to make them?  Timmerman ended up going to Honduras, Bangladesh, Cambodia and China to find out the factories and what conditions the laborers worked in.  Think about it, we have nice clothes to wear that we eventually discard to rummage sales that are sold for cheap!  In our case we were selling clothes, all you can fit in a bag, for $2.

Another book I want to read is “Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy” by Kevin Bales. But maybe I need to take a break from this sadness and do something else like can the tomatoes that didn’t succumb to the deep frost last night or do some more pickling of the cucumbers I have saved up.  We live such a privileged life in the U.S. Therefore, I think I would feel more hopeful if Americans would wake up to the reality that we have a very good life at the expense of others living on $1 a day, if that.

Of course I am very hopeful for the ladies who came alongside me to DO something to help eradicate human trafficking and slavery. We have so much to learn if we are going to be globalized citizens. We wear clothes and use technology that have been touched by other hands that go away empty handed from all their labors.  May this NOT be so…

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