January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month as proclaimed by the United States Department of Defense. Individuals and organizations all over the United States are embarking on awareness campaigns and fundraisers to help survivors of modern day slavery. They are advocating for those victims who are struggling to find freedom and recovery from trauma. But it is not up to these people and organizations alone. You can help too. One way you can make a big difference is through making ethical fashion choices.
Human trafficking is a global epidemic
Human trafficking is when a person is illegally forced or coerced to perform labor or sexual activities by another. National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is observed in the U.S. on Jan. 11. Of the 40.3 million people worldwide that are believed to be current victims of slavery, 24.9 million are believed to experience labor trafficking. It is estimated that $354 billion worth of products are imported around the world by the countries with the most risk for human trafficking prevalence.
The top five products most likely produced through human trafficking are:
- Laptops, computers, and mobile phones
How your ethical fashion choices help
The fashion industry faces scrutiny as a top contributor to human trafficking worldwide, as well as a top contributor to our planet’s pollution. Many clothing companies use toxic dyes and chemicals in their production processes, making working conditions detrimental to the health of the worker on the production floor. It isn’t a surprise that fashion is such a high contributor to modern slavery. The average American household spends $1,833 on clothing annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Clothing production is a massive industry that everyone has some sort of involvement in; whether that is the design, production, or purchase of a clothing product. Behind the $127.7 billion of suspected clothing produced through slave labor worldwide, there is hope for a brighter future amongst the fashion industry.
More and more brands are turning towards ethical fashion, not only to reduce their carbon footprint, but also to improve human dignity on a global scale. Ethical fashion is the production, design, and retail of clothing in a way that is considered ethical to the environment and society. Ethical fashion could be as broad as Amour Vert producing their clothing with organic materials and dyes and planting a tree with every t-shirt they sell, or Patagonia switching to Fair Trade certified factories in other countries for the production of their clothing lines.
The fashion industry is taking a stand towards slave labor and changing their production and retail efforts to encompass the human being creating their designs. While this is necessary and vital to reducing human trafficking globally, arguably the biggest change will occur as a result of you, the buyer, changing your spending habits. So, if you are now asking yourself, “Who makes the clothing I am wearing today? Was it slave labor or was it ethical fashion,” you can rest your mind at ease. The Good Trade developed a guide on 35 ethical clothing brands for any budget.
You don’t have to change how much you spend on clothing every year, but rather, be more mindful about who you are buying from and know where your clothes were actually made. A simple shift in who you choose to purchase from will, unequivocally, save a life. Your freedom to choose is someone else’s freedom to a better way of life. Use that buying power to change the world. The money to do so literally sits in your pocket.
here are our favorite places to shop ethical fashion on a budget ⚡️https://t.co/ZV1BbEDVuz— The Good Trade (@thegoodtrade) January 6, 2019