Category Archives: everyday crusaders

Some Things Cost More Than We Realize

radiohead

An excellent video from Radiohead for MTV’s EXIT campaign.

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FEATURED! Causecast

Causecast is the social network for social good.

“People want to do good, want to be inspired, and want to inspire others to join them in giving back,” the site says. “Causecast makes this easy by providing users with means to connect with people, leaders, charities, nonprofit organizations, and brands that inspire them.”

In How To Helo Human Trafficking, the Causecast blog gives the following suggestions:

  • Step One: Educate Yourself

    Human trafficking takes on many different forms, sometimes using new methods to disguise itself. The best way to begin to fight against human trafficking is to educate yourself about the problem’s complexities. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t understand it and you can’t spread the word if you can’t explain it.

  • Step Two: Spread the Word

    While it’s really important to understand about all the different types of human trafficking, it’s easier to make a tangible difference when you focus on one specific aspect of the problem at a time.

  • Step Three: Dollah Dollah Bills, Ya’ll

    Of course, money is always an integral part of campaigning for any cause, and human trafficking is no exception.

  • Step Four: Time to Act

    Giving money is great, but it’s only a part of the solution. Check out the Polaris Project Action Center for some hands-on ways you can help. For example, Polaris is pushing Congress to allocate federal funding for human trafficking victims. Call your senators and representatives to let them know how you feel about this issue.

  • Step Five: Keep It Up!

    Remember, technology is your friend. Even the most dedicated of us can’t always keep up with our causes 24/7. So sometimes, it’s a good idea to bring the cause to you.

Break the Chains–The 500 Mile Dash

Are you on Twitter? Eric Proffitt is and he’s using the micro-blogging platform to keep people up to date on his quest to bring awareness to modern-day slavery by running 500 miles in chains across the UK, beginning this August 1.

Proffitt will set off from London’s Westminster Abby and run eight hours a day, for 27 days as part of his Break These Chains campaign.

“I’m doing this to help the world know that human trafficking still happens in every city on earth,” Proffitt said in an interview last week. “The whole point is that I want the entire world to stop and say ‘this is wrong’, I want this event to tip the balance and stop human slavery.”

Why the UK? According to the Break The Chains site, it’s to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Wilberforce, the driving force behind the fight against slavery throughout the UK in 1833, which was the tipping point for abolishing legalized slavery throughout the world.

“Thus the UK is the ideal place to once again become a tipping point for slavery today,” the site concludes.

Bon Appetit Takes A Stance

Bon Appetit steps up to the plate of sustainable labor practices. The Washington Post has reported that appalled by reports of labor conditions in the fields, the executives of one of the nation’s largest food service companies, Bon Appetit Management, promise to boycott Florida tomatoes if growers do not agree to improve conditions and increase pay for farmworkers.

Bon Appetit will issue a strict set of standards that farm worker advocates call a “rough draft” of the future of fairly produced food. If no grower agrees, the company is set to stop serving tomatoes on salad bars and sandwiches at its more than 400 college and corporate cafes across the country. The growers “can do the right thing, and our five million pounds of business can go to them,” said Fedele Bauccio, Bon Appetit’s chief executive. “Or they can let the tomatoes rot in the fields.”

I’m not sure if I care if this is public relations grandstanding. If people grandstand long, who knows, maybe the accidentally end up doing the right thing more often? No, seriously.

Affeldt Joins The Cause

The San Francisco Examiner has reported that the University of San Francisco’s ethics professor, Dr. David Batstone, who has worked to educate students on modern-day slavery and founded the Not for Sale Campaign has received a large donation from S.F. Giants’ reliever Jeremy Affeldt. The donated $5,000 will go to support a medical clinic being established for former child slaves in Thailand. Affeldt also said he’d donate $100 per strikeout.

Georgetown Law Trafficking Podcast

In a podcast at Georgetown Law by Nguyen Dinh Thang, the executive director of Boat People SOS discusses the global problem of human trafficking and address the latest developments in the fight against human trafficking in Vietnam and elsewhere.

You can hear it here (Quicktime).

Tufts Zeroes-In On The Challenges to Modern Abolitionism

From Tufts Observer, the Tufts student magazine:

The first challenge in the destruction of modern-day slavery is that some people simply do not know it exists. Pangea’s Modern Day Slavery committee’s main objective is to raise awareness on the Tufts campus. Elizabeth Gardner, a Policy Associate for Free the Slaves, commented in a interview that awareness is imperative “when it comes to the issue of modern-day slavery, because many people consign this problem to the past and to some place far away. As we work to mobilize support to abolish slavery, we must continue to spread the word that this problem still exists. Many modern-day slaves live in South Asia, but the truth is that at times they can be found in our own backyard.” During the group’s tabling efforts in the dining halls, many people were surprised to learn that slavery is ongoing today. The committee is also working in conjunction with Human Trafficking Students (HTS). HTS is a cross-campus group that is comprised of college students from the Boston area who are interested in the devastating topic of modern slavery and its abolition. Their mission is to spark academic conversation in support of the abolitionist movement as a means for gradual change. Eric Goodwin, a Harvard graduate student, Danielle Townsend, a Tufts freshman, and Michael Rubine, a Northeastern University student, are the central team leaders for this initiative.

There is a market for slavery that encourages its continuation. The demand for cheap clothing has been met with a supply made by slaves. If people did not want to buy cheap products, then the practice of slavery would finally die away . The anti-slavery initiative emphasizes the need for action to change the mindset of people in charge of corporations that participate (directly and indirectly) in the use of slave labor. To accomplish this large task, Free the Slaves is using world-class research and compelling stories from the frontlines of slavery to convince the powerful and the powerless that slavery can be eradicated. The mentality of prioritizing profit over ethics and morals needs to be eliminated in the consumer market in order for the abolition of slavery to be possible.

A third challenge to the modern slavery problem is getting people to care. The global market has rapidly evolved into a world of cheap, name-brand products. Consumers indirectly perpetuate slavery by purchasing products that are manufactured by slave labor On behindthelabor.org, the profiles of several well-known brands, such as those of Gap, Old Navy and Victoria’s Secret, describe their use of slave labor. If there were no demand for such products then there would not be any advantage for companies that use slave labor. The goal for organizations like Pangea is to get people not only interested but also to hold their attention and commit them to ongoing support of the cause. If students stay involved, perhaps they may begin to see the results of their efforts. “There are a number of opportunities for students to get involved,” Gardner says, “College students are in a great place to learn and act. One of the most important actions that a college student could take would be first to get educated about the issue. Once you learn about what is happening, share this knowledge.”