“How many slaves do you have working for you?” That’s the question a new public awareness website,
www.slaveryfootprint.org, seeks to answer.
According to Andrew Martin of the NY TIMES, “The slavery footprint is a twist on the more commonly known carbon footprint, and the new site tries to point out areas of a consumer’s life where the organization believes slavery is most likely used to manufacture products.”
The site defines a slave as, “anyone who is forced to work without pay, being economically exploited and is unable to walk away.” And according to the US State Department, which partly funds the project, there are at least 27 million people who fit that description worldwide. “What we are trying to do is make it so it’s not just someone else’s business, it’s everyone’s business,” said Luis CdeBaca, ambassador at large for the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. “There’s a horror about it when they figure out what is going on.”
Visitors to the site will be walked through a series of questions regarding their lifestyle choices (purchasing habits, eating habits, travel habits, etc.). From the answers the site will calculate one’s personal “slavery footprint”—an average score being 55, representing 55 slaves you have working for you..
The site was created by the Fair Trade Fund, a California-based nonprofit group that uses media to promote advocacy on issues, particularly human slavery. Justin Dillon, 42, FTF’s CEO, said the site doesn’t seek to target specific companies, but rather aims to show users which consumer products are most likely manufactured in part or in whole through exploitative human labor.
Every believer should be concerned about how their actions may be impacting others, especially the poor and the disadvantaged. The Scriptures tell us that though Jesus "was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9). With Christ as our example, we must not allow ourselves to become richer on the backs of the poor.
"He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God" (Proverbs 14:31).