Slavery in the 21st Century? Yes, But Here’s How to End It

 

I Pledge to Help End 21st Century Slavery in the Apparel Industry

I pledge to do my part to end 21st Century Slavery in the apparel industry by:

1. Refusing to buy from brands known to support forced labor. I will seek out and buy from brands with the best practices.

2. Researching a company’s supply chain before making a purchase. I will go online, seek out their supply chain information and ask questions of company representatives. I will not make a purchase that I haven’t researched. I will tell others about what I have learned.

3. Avoiding the purchase of clothing manufactured in countries known to use forced labor, unless I can verify the factory they originate from does not use forced labor. These include Argentina, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, China, India and Turkey.

4. Sharing this pledge. When asked about my apparel choices or clothing I own I will tell people I took this pledge and share it with them.

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If you are like most people, you probably don’t realize slavery is still an issue in the 21st century. Worse, you probably don’t even realize you are contributing to it. That sounds harsh I know, but the unfortunate reality is that some of those responsible for making our clothes are doing so unwillingly.

Antislavery.org outlines the ways slavery exists today, including anytime a person: is forced to work, owned or controlled by an employer, dehumanized by being treated as a commodity, or has their freedom limited through physical control. Their statistics suggest there are over 20 million people currently in one of these situations.

Six of the largest apparel-exporting countries in the world are known to use forced labor. Would you buy a shirt if you knew it was manufactured in one of these countries?

Chances are you already have. Take the quick survey here to see how many slaves work for YOU. You might be surprised.

The problem is you probably didn’t know. Currently there is limited transparency into the supply chains of our favorite brands. Most people don’t dig that deep.

This has to stop now. By passing the issue of slavery and forced labor in the supply chain on to others, we are giving our support, our votes and our money to the individuals and businesses who are exploiting men, women and children for profit. These practices are illegal and immoral.

How can we work for change? Boycotts are not enough, and can often lead to worsening conditions and the crippling of developing communities. Applications like Made In A Free World now identify areas where slavery is prevalent and are helping businesses clean up their supply chains. But it isn’t enough; we as consumers can no longer afford to be apathetic.

We must start demanding information from the brands we buy from. There is no longer such thing as an “innocent purchase” when it comes to apparel. We must force brands to do better by showing them we are paying attention.

At lur® apparel we fight against this issue by holding every single piece of our supply chain to our Code of Conduct.  The first two provisions of this Code ban child labor and forced labor from our manufacturing process. It isn’t good enough to just say it, so we constantly re-evaluate each piece of our supply chain to ensure that our suppliers aren’t slipping on this commitment. When it comes to sustainability and social impact there are always ways to improve, but nothing should stop other brands from holding their suppliers to this standard as well.

From the harvesting of raw materials, to manufacturing and shipping, join us in asking brands large and small to review their suppliers, and their suppliers’ suppliers, processes and demand an end to forced labor once and for all.

How can you do this? By joining with others to create a league of informed consumers who ask questions and force brands to be transparent about their operations. You can join with us, and many others, by pledging to do the following every time you consider making an apparel purchase.

I pledge to do my part to end 21st Century Slavery in the apparel industry by:

  1. Refusing to buy from brands known to support forced labor. I will seek out and buy from brands with the best practices.
  2. Researching a company’s supply chain before making a purchase. I will go online, seek out their supply chain information and ask questions of company representatives. I will not make a purchase that I haven’t researched. I will tell others about what I have learned.
  3. Avoiding the purchase of clothing manufactured in countries known to use forced labor, unless I can verify the factory they originate from does not use forced labor. These include Argentina, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, China, India and Turkey.
  4. Sharing this pledge. When asked about my apparel choices or clothing I own I will tell people I took this pledge and share it with them.

For every pledge made, lur® will donate a week of training to a Guatemalan woman in need. Learn more here.

The spread of real, honest information about our supply chains will lead to real, honest changes in our supply chains.

Change isn’t easy, but ending slavery might be as simple as asking questions.

Will you do it? Sign the Pledge above.

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