Monday, August 3, 2009

YOU Can Fight Slavery At the Grocery Store!

Amanda Kloer has a great blog, "End Human Trafficking" at the website: Change.org!

Yesterday she posted a wonderful article: "7 Ways to Fight Slavery at the Grocery Store"

Here is a re-post of the article. You can help to make a difference in the fight against human trafficking and slavery just by paying attention to which grocery products you buy. Read on for great advice on which products to be vigilant about.

I am a bit of a foodie (and more than a bit of a nerd), so grocery shopping for me is a fun, relaxing activity. Handling the fruit, smelling the cheese counter, ogling the wine section- it can be quite a nice outing. But when you're trying to pay attention to what you buy, sometimes grocery shopping can feel overwhelming! To make things a little easier, here are seven items at a grocery store to pay special attention to if you're looking to shop slavery-free.

1. Coffee: Coffee might be the most famous food product for having a high incidence of slavery involved in its production. Luckily, most grocery stores carry Fair Trade and ethically-produced brands of coffee which are a better choice for workers.

2. Chocolate: As more and more chocolate companies begin to introduce greater responsibility into their production, finding slave-free chocolate is getting easier. However, the candy isle at the grocery store is still covered with chocolate from companies like Hershey and Nestle who have no supply chain transparency.

3. Seafood: Fishing industries, especially in Southeast Asia and Africa, are growing as destinations for trafficked children. Don't think Thai seafood will make it to your supermarket in the U.S.? Think again. Always check where in the world your seafood comes from and how it is produced.

4. Strawberries: Strawberries are a valuable crop which is difficult to harvest, making migrant workers in the strawberry industry extremely vulnerable to exploitation and slavery. When strawberries are in season, you may be able to find them picked near you. It doesn't guarantee a slave-free berry, but it avoids feeding the industry in California and Central America where much of the trafficking has been found.

5. Tea: Like coffee, the tea industry has seen a lot of slavery. And because tea is the most popular beverage in the world, the profits from exploiting tea growers and harvesters are high. Many teas now are coming out with better labels indicating how they were produced.

6. Poultry: Processing poultry is a gross and dirty job, which means it is often left to undocumented workers. And lack of oversight of poultry factories puts these workers at risk of trafficking. There was even a recent case of disabled workers being enslaved in a turkey processing plant for years.

7. Sugar:The slavery on sugar cane plantations in the Caribbean never quite went away. Slaves grow and harvest sugar in Caribbean, Africa, and Central America. Some grocery stores may carry Fair Trade or ethically-sourced sugar, but you might have to seek out a specialty store in some areas.

Remember. slavery can be found in any industry, but these are a few of the common offenders. Knowing where to look for slavery is the first step toward being a conscious consumer of slave-free goods.

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