Human trafficking AKA modern day slavery is a cause very close to my heart, and something I’ve invested a lot of time, money and effort into fighting. When you hear the term “human trafficking” you may immediately think of sex trafficking, but labor trafficking — forcing someone to work through fraud, coercion or abuse — is just as common, and doesn’t always get the same attention. That’s what I want to highlight today. I’m going to throw a couple stats at you (don’t tune this part out!) because becoming aware is always the first step in making a difference:
The International Labour Organization estimates that 24.9 million people are trapped in forced labor globally
Since 2007, the National Human Trafficking Hotline has received 5,400 reports of labor trafficking cases in the United States.
If you look closely into the supply chains of the products we buy, clothing we wear, and food we eat, you’ll find people in unsafe working conditions who don’t have a choice whether or not they can leave their employers. Learning about this may feel overwhelming, like nothing you can do will ever change anything, but that’s simply not true. Now that we know we can shake things up.
One way to fight back is to create demand for ethical products. It’s Business 101 — if demand increases, supply increases along with it. I like to refer to this as voting with your dollars. Alternatively, if you decrease demand (ie stop buying slave-made goods), the supply will decrease too. There are more and more ethical shopping options out there (hooray!) and in the spirit of human trafficking prevention month, I put together a list of ten brands that not only refuse to use forced labor, but go ABOVE and BEYOND by playing a part in the fight to end modern day slavery.
UNCVRD donates 40% of the proceeds from each sale to a non-profit supporting human trafficking survivors. Their stunning pieces of jewelry are conversation starters that help spread awareness about human trafficking. When you own a piece this incredible, you’ll want to tell everyone you know about it.
2.) The Tote Project
You didn’t think I’d make this list without mentioning The Tote Project did you?! My best friend Fay and I started this company to help make a difference in the fight against human trafficking. All of our organic, fair trade products are made by survivors in India, and we donate 10% of our gross profits to help survivors in the US pursue their dreams. We also tuck awareness cards in each bag that list ways to get involved and the hotline number to call (1-888-373-7888) if you encounter a victim.
3.) Good Paper
Good Paper is my favorite greeting card company. Not only are their cards adorably hilarious, but they are handmade out of recycled paper by survivors of human trafficking.
This men’s, women’s and children’s apparel brand gives back 10% of their profits to various neoabolitionist organizations, and they use their platform to raise awareness about human trafficking. Is there a better statement to promote on your tee than "Freedom Fighter"? I think not.
Sudara sells lovely patterned robes, sleep sets and pajama pants. Each purchase invests in job creation and skills training for survivors of sex trafficking, and those at risk for trafficking in India. Their goal is to break the cycle of slavery not only for this generation, but for generations to come.
6.) Purpose Jewelry
Purpose Jewelry employs survivors of human trafficking through the nonprofit, International Sanctuary. Survivors make their jewelry in India, and prepare, package and ship it from Southern California. When I wear my favorite Purpose Jewelry pieces, I remember the women who were given freedom and a second chance here in my own backyard, as well as on the other side of the world.
This conscious collection is designed in New York and manufactured in Nepal by human trafficking survivors. Today elegantees employs 18 overcomers, and ensures that they are paid a living wage (2-3x the minimum wage) and given paid time off. Their lovely pieces live up to their name. To top it off, they are also the official dress choice for Dressember, an amazing anti-trafficking campaign that raises funds for IJM.
8.) Thistle Farms
They say it best on their site: “Thistle Farms is a community of women survivors of addiction, prostitution, and trafficking in Nashville, Tennessee. This product bears witness that love is the most powerful force for change in the world.” Thistle Farms is so much more than just a personal care brand (they run a cafe too!) so definitely check them out and read about their mission. I had the pleasure of visiting their HQ, and witnessing firsthand the impact they are making in Nashville.
9.) My Sister
My Sister’s ethically sourced apparel makes a statement against sex trafficking and helps to raise awareness. Each purchase supports after-care programs for survivors, and growth opportunities for at-risk women. To date, they’ve raised $139,700 for their non-profit partners!
10.) Starfish Project
Starfish Project cares for human trafficking survivors through shelter, counseling, education and employment, and 100% of the sales from their (super rad) pieces of jewelry are reinvested into their services. Survivors are given the opportunity to make jewelry, and many eventually go on to become managers, accountants, graphic designers and photographers for the brand. Fun fact, while compiling this list I found these earrings and liked them so much that I purchased them!
Thanks for reading! What are your favorite brands that fight modern day slavery? I know there are more out there! Leave me a comment with your list below <3