Have you ever heard the term “fair trade?” The UD International Justice Mission (IJM) club explained what fair trade products are at their Fair Trade Friday last week: “If a product is “fair trade certified,” it means that it features fair prices for the farmers, hired workers, artisans, and other producers; the workers on the farms, factories, or plantations that produce the good are subject to fair and safe labor conditions; the producers invest premiums in social development projects like youth scholarship programs; and there are no harmful agrochemicals in the product.”
So, why is this important? Well, you may not know this, but there are slaves all over the world today. Yes, slavery does still exist despite the fact that it is illegal. Modern-day slavery, also known as human trafficking, is when a person is coerced and forced by their trafficker to work in horrible conditions with little or no pay and no freedom. There are many different types of slavery, ranging from forced labor to sex trafficking. And it does not only occur in third world, poverty-stricken countries; there is human trafficking right here in the United States. It can really happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Fair trade certification helps ensure that people who are working to create different products are being treated fairly, not as slaves.
What can we do to stop this from happening? It may seem like there is not much we can do, but that is not true! In my opinion, the most important action to take is education. There are a lot of people who are not aware that slavery still exists and it is our job to spread the word and shine a light on this issue.
“But how can I do that, Heather?” I’m glad you asked my lovely reader! I have something simple that you can do to educate others this Halloween! The Equal Exchange website sells mini fair trade chocolates that you can hand out to trick-or-treaters this Halloween. If they ask about the chocolate, you can explain to them the importance of fair trade products! Fair trade chocolate is also delicious, so everybody wins here!
So, I hope you are up to my challenge this Halloween! If you are interested in learning more about human trafficking, educating other students on campus, and attempting to make the University of Delaware serve more fair trade certified products, then join the UD chapter of the IJM! To get involved, like us on Facebook at IJMatUD and follow us on Twitter at @IJMatUD.
If you see any of the following labels on a product, then it is fair trade certified!