By: Jodi Emerson, Public Policy and Community Relations

As Fierce Freedom continues to grow, we are always developing new programming. While we have primarily focused on awareness about sex trafficking in the past, we feel compelled to include some programming around labor trafficking and how that affects us in the Chippewa Valley.

In March, we started a new series called Reducing Your Slavery Footprint. Each month we are looking at a different industry and trying to give people actionable ways to ensure that they are not supporting slave labor with their purchases.

There are an estimated 46 million victims of human trafficking in the world today. While a majority of those people are not enslaved in the United States, purchases that we make every day do support those businesses that use labor trafficking to get their products to market.

We have chosen six industries to focus on over the next six months. We chose these industries both because they use a lot of slave labor, and because there are small things we can do to change our buying habits in each of these areas that will make big changes in the world.

If you have ever been in the Fierce Freedom office, you know that we usually have a chocolate supply on hand. In March, we held an event at the office focusing on chocolate, which included an educational presentation and a chocolate sampling. A significant portion of the chocolate produced in the world relies on child slave labor. When you think about how many child slaves are involved in the chocolate industry, it makes chocolate not taste as good.

The best way to avoid slave labor in your chocolate is to buy chocolate with Fair Trade, Rain Forest Alliance or Equal Exchange certifications on the label. Also, organic chocolate is grown in Latin America and most labor trafficking in the chocolate industry is done in Western Africa. Buying organic chocolate doesn’t guarantee that your chocolate is not made with slave labor, but if you can’t find Fair Trade chocolate organic is a good option.

Be sure to watch the Fierce Freedom facebook page and website for information and educational presentations in the Reducing Your Slavery Footprint series:

March: Chocolate

April: Coffee

May: Produce

June: Jewelry

July: Electronics

August: Clothing