January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month. 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 20.9 million people are trapped in forced labor globally
Since 2007, the National Human Trafficking Hotline has received 4,800 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. 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!) but 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.) Good Paper
Good Paper is my favorite greeting card company. Not only are the cards adorably hilarious, but they are handmade out of recycled paper by survivors of human trafficking in the Philippines.
This men’s, women’s and children’s apparel brand gives back 20% of their event profits to various neoabolitionist organizations (each one is carefully chosen based on the event) and they use their platform to raise awareness about human trafficking. I did an in-depth post and interview with Citizen & Darling that you can dig into here.
4.) Dear Survivor
Dear Survivor sells beautiful handmade purses, clutches and jewelry. 10% of their proceeds goes to working with human trafficking victims. Their web store is closed for January but make sure to follow them and check back next month for more beautiful minimalist designs!
5.) Starfish Project
Starfish Project is an organization that cares for human trafficking survivors in Asia through shelter, counseling, education and employment. The (super rad) pieces of jewelry you can purchase from them supports these survivors. They are given the opportunity to create the jewelry and go on to become managers, accountants, graphic designers and photographers for the brand.
6.) Henri Rose
Henri Rose provides jobs to women in Cambodia who have been trafficked or live in areas where they are vulnerable to trafficking. Their pajamas and loungewear provide freedom through income generation. I just ordered my first pair!
7.) 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.” They are so much more than just a beauty and personal care brand (they run a cafe too!) so definitely check them out and read about their mission.
8.) 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 $77,500 for their non-profit partners!
9.) The Tote Project
You didn’t think I’d make this list without mentioning The Tote Project did you? 🙂 My best friend and I started this company to 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 20% of our profits to help survivors in the US pursue their dreams. We also tuck awareness cards in each bag that list the signs of trafficking and the hotline number to call (1-888-373-7888) if you encounter a victim.
10.) Purpose Jewelry
Purpose Jewelry employs survivors of human trafficking in every area of their company. Survivors make the jewelry, prepare it, package it and ship it. 100% of their profits go back to help support the women. I cover this amazing brand and nonprofit more in detail here.
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