Friday, February 27, 2015

You Can #EndIt... with simple everyday choices!

It's #ShineALightOnSlavery day today...
Social media has lit up with countless selfies of people with a red X on their hand. I posted one earlier this morning too. Here it is...

Did you know that...
27 million people are still in slavery today? This quote is from the End It Movement website: " Can you imagine being forced to work without pay, trapped, unable to walk away, subject to violence or the threat of violence, by another person as they control you? Own you? Isolated, yet hidden in plain sight. This is reality for those trapped in slavery today. In the year 2015. Slavery is illegal in every single country in the world. Yet it still exists."

This morning, I prayed this prayer...
A prayer of repentance... for today and for these 40 days of Lent. In repentance, of loving myself too much... and loving God so little.

A few years ago, I came to realize that things like our clothing, our chocolate, our coffee and our smartphones {among many other things} depend on slave labour to be produced cheaply. Our family resolved to do and consume things differently.

Do you love baking with or eating chocolate or drinking hot chocolate? Watch this to see where chocolate comes from. Similarly, coffee and sugar cane are in the list of common agricultural goods produced with child labour.

How about the clothes we wear everyday? Do we know their source... where they are made and by whom? Watch this trailer to see a glimpse of the realities that many garment labourers are living in today.

{Watch the entire series of this documentary here.}

And it's not limited to that. Many people today are trafficked into slavery. Many more are in bonded and forced labour. 27 million of them! This should be enough reason to prompt us to do and consume things differently.

Friends, let's do more than just draw a red X on our hand today... 
Let's be freedom fighters everyday!!! I know that this is a big problem... but rather than being overwhelmed by it, why not join in and effect change by taking small steps, one step at a time?

Did you know that you can be a powerful and an effective freedom fighter from the comforts of your own home simply by making small changes in the things that you do and buy everyday?

I'd like to share a few ideas with you all... a few things that we do and choices that we make as a family, in order to help in the fight against modern-day slavery:

1. Buy Fair Trade
Buying fair trade basically ensures that you are not consuming something that has been produced with slave labour. It has become easier and easier to buy fair trade products in recent years. We started with the items that we consume regularly such as coffee, chocolate and sugar... but we also try to look for the fair trade symbol as much as possible when grocery shopping.

My most favourite place to buy fair trade products is Ten Thousand Villages. They have a flat rate shipping of $7 or free when you buy $100. It is super convenient to shop from home and their delivery is super fast!

The photo on the left is my favourite coffee. This is my favourite hot chocolate and I love this chai tea and this is the brown sugar and cane sugar that I buy.

Another food item we consume regularly that is also on the list of common agricultural goods produced with slave labour is rice. To this day, I have yet to find a fair trade source for rice.

2. Buy Local
Another way to ensure that we aren't consuming something that has been produced with slave labour is to buy local.

This includes food items such as fruits and vegetables and meats and dairy products... especially paying attention to reading labels during the colder months when local produce are harder to find.

Locally grown bouquets and flowers are a good idea as well because of slavery that exists in flower farms such as this one.  

I can't wait for the local farmers' market to start back up again... just three more months to go! ;)

3. Buy Less and Want Less
Sometimes, it is virtually impossible to avoid buying things produced with slave labour. I am talking about things such as clothing and electronics.

Free2Work is an awesome resource providing consumers with information on forced and child labour. I use this website to check how certain brands rate when it comes to trafficking and other labor abuses.

For instance, for the garment industry, I now know that H&M is rated A, Adidas and Levi's are rated B+ while Forever21 and Skechers are rated D-. This informs me on where I should be shopping. In the electronics industry, there is no one brand rated above a B+. Among the top rated brands are Microsoft, LG, Nokia and Apple.

These ratings tell me that sadly there is hardly anything today in the apparel and electronics industry that have been produced without slave labour. Our family's solution to this dilemma is to buy less and to want less.   

This means owning just enough pieces of clothing for our needs and wearing them until they are worn out. I admire my boy's commitment to this. He owns just enough clothes that he has to do his laundry every weekend in order to have clean clothes to wear. He also only owns one pair of running shoes and one pair of boots.

When it comes to electronics, this means that we are mindful of not always wanting the newest gadgets and only owning the bare minimum for what we need and using them mindfully to prolong their lifespans. Computers and smartphones are used until they die {even if a free upgrade is available}. Tablets aren't replaced the minute a new one is released in the marketplace. The same goes with most, if not all, of our household electronics and appliances.     

4. Do Something
Lastly, we can all do something. Might I suggest a few initiatives that you can consider?

1. Freedom Creations
My girl started a social enterprise called Freedom Creations in October 2013. In her own words: "Freedom Creations was birthed from a passion for social justice, a want to do something to help end modern-day slavery and a love for knitting and creating. I so believe that each and every one of us was created with a purpose and made for freedom."

100% of Freedom Creations' proceeds are donated to International Justice Mission Canada. To date, over $2000 have been donated

If you are looking for an awesome hand-knitted hat or a warm and cozy scarf, be sure to shop at Freedom Creations! :)

2. International Justice Mission:
Support the work of IJM directly. IJM’s mission is "to protect the poor from violence by rescuing victims, bringing the criminals to justice, restoring survivors to safety and strength, and helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts."

IJM works to "combat slavery, sex trafficking, property grabbing, police abuse of power and sexual violence in nearly 20 communities throughout Africa, Latin America and South and Southeast Asia."

IJM's vision is "to rescue thousands, protect millions and prove that justice for the poor is possible."

Here is a heart-warming story of rescue:

3. Compassion International:
Last, but not least... sponsor a Compassion child today in order to give them a safe haven and to protect them from the traps of modern-day slavery!

Here is how your sponsorship works:

Friends, if you are still reading...
Thank you! Thank you for bearing with me today and reading to the end of this super-long blog post. I hope that I have inspired you to jump in and do something... however small. 

Each act, each choice, each step we take... will bring the end of slavery that much closer to becoming a reality for these 27 million of our global brothers and sisters, each one of them as precious and as valuable as we are as a human being, each one infinitely loved by our Heavenly Father.

Friends, let's do something today. Let's #EndIt for them!   
By Grace, today, I will fast from wanting more, instead of Giving More. We repent, Lord, that our clothing, our chocolate, our coffee, and our smart phones depend on slave labour for producing these goods cheaply, so we have more money in our wallets regardless of how much life and soul it costs someone else. Today, we will give thankfully -- so others can thankfully live. ~ Ann Voskamp.
Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. ~ Galatians 5:13.

Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Aimee, with really practical ideas for taking some steps. I try really hard to buy coffee, tea and chocolate fair trade...will look into adding sugar to my list. I love, love, love Ten Thousand Villages - I have quite a few pieces of jewelry from there.