Saturday, February 16, 2013

Exploring the Issue: Human Injustice

At one time in my posts I said I was trying to avoid buying things made in foreign countries.  Shortly after writing that, I got together with a friend of mine, and shared with her my mission.  She told me something that was quite eye-opening.  She had seen a news report of Oprah Winfrey shutting down a "sweat shop" and the young ladies who worked there then had to resort to prostitution to survive. 

This is far worse then working in difficult conditions in a factory!  I did some more research today and found a few articles.  (For those who are unaware-when you see the text is a color other than black, it is a link that you can click on-it will take you to whatever article or website I am referring to)

This one....

And this one...

And one more

I don't necessarily agree with everything in these articles, or these blogs/websites, I just found them when I googled the topic and they gave me some things to think about.

I could be wrong, but it appears to me that these factories aren't a bad thing.  They are giving jobs to people who otherwise would be barely eaking out a living in other ways, one of them being prostitution.  These people are thankful for their jobs in the factories.  It gets them out of extremely laborious farm/agricultural work and they are able to make significantly more income than they did otherwise.  They choose to work at these factories because they are better for them.

There is something going on in the world that is, without a doubt, total injustice.  And that is slavery, human slavery.  There are over 27 million slaves in the world right now.  Just to give you an idea, that is double the amount of Africans stolen and forced into slavery during the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

This video was shocking. 

I just continued my research a bit more...according to Made in a Free World, many of the products we use, wherever they may be bought, could potentially have been produced with materials that were made through a slave.  I found this very good advise from 

What can you do?
Ask questions when you shop. Does your local retailer stock fair trade products? Use your consumer power to show you care -- buy fair trade marked products and Rugmark carpets, a certification scheme for rugs and carpets made without illegal child labour. In supermarkets, look out for the Fairtrade Mark. This is the best available guarantee that a product has not been produced using slave labour because goods can only be Fairtrade certified if they have complied with Fairtrade standards, which incorporate international human rights standards. For retail chains, write a letter to the company headquarters asking what measures the company is taking to identify, prevent and end the use of forced labour and slavery from their supply chain. Ask if the company is a member of the ETI and ask the company to explain how it is involved.

Why not boycott?

In certain situations boycotting specific goods or countries can actually make the situation worse and undermine the economy of an already poor country. A boycott could hurt those in slavery-like conditions as well as those employers who are not exploiting their workers, and worsen the poverty that is one of the root causes of the problem. Support fair and ethical trade initiatives instead and use consumer power to encourage retailers and companies to move to the Fairtrade scheme.

From this website I found the following sample letter that you can copy and paste in word, print out, sign and send to the stores you shop at. 

I just went to Wal-Mart's website to get their address to mail a letter to, and found a surprising article about Wal-Mart's high standards as to where they purchase their products!  See that here.

Apparently Target has the same high standards  as to where they source their products!  See an article on their ethical standards.

It appears to me that one of the best things we can do is, first of all, pray.  Pray that God would free the slaves.  He came to do that.  And we are now his ambassadors.  We're His hands and feet on earth.  Ask him how he would use you and then be listening, for He will answer. 

Here are some wonderful organizations that are fighting to end slavery around the world.

Isaiah, chapter 58, is one of my favorite passages in the Bible.  I would encourage you to read it.  Here is a small portion...God's response to the people's religious fasting....they fasted yet they did not look after the needs of the oppressed...

...."Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?"

Isaiah 58:6

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