I haven’t been writing lately, more about that another time…but I came across this article by Kristen over at Rage Against the Minivan about child labour, slavery and chocolate:
Now, frankly, I have no idea where to start in actively responding to this issue, but ceasing or curtailing chocolate consumption supplied by slavery and child labour might be a place to start?
I don’t pretend to have a solution, and my gut suspicion is that I/we could not afford the standard of living we currently enjoy if we didn’t rely on poverty, child labour, slavery and the miniscule wage form of it in the processes that supply us with the products in our lives. Not just child farm workers is poor conditions, or sweatshop shoe and garment makers, but the unsafe miners, electronics and furniture manufacturers exposed to dust, chemicals or other poor conditions, up to the retail and fast food workers on the corner who nèed to work multiple full time jobs, just to make ends meet.
I know my family was in that position before one of us graduated from university…only made possible by large loans and occasional survival on credit that we are now beginning to pay down. I’m aware that we couldn’t have made it without low prices at the expense of others’ health, safety and quality of life.
I’m aware there is no easy, or comfortable, solution here, but as human beings who ought to have some compassion for others (afterall, genocide and natural disasters seem to meet with sympathy), and even more so as Christians, shouldn’t we be at a minimum concerned? As if we believe the Bible, seeking to do something about it, within our power? Simply ignoring and purposing to be in ignorance seems like what James spoke to when he spoje about knowing we ought to do something good, and then not (James 4:17). We have brothers and sisters in Christ overseas, and people who do not know his love, who we cannot love as ourselves directly, in person, but what an expression of His love if the body of Christ globally stood up and took steps to change these practices, probably helping the problems of hunger and poverty in the process!
Whatever that means to you, whether it means only purchasing from so-called free trade or ethically sourced sources as much as possible, lobbying government and business, please think or pray about doing something.
See, simply being convicted, feeling bad for a moment, and giving a few dollars to a charity doesn’t really accomplish much.
For me, this probably means cutting down on chocolate/candy, and making the clothes I have last as long as possible, trying to buy on clearance so that at least profits aren’t made on evil business practices. Honestly, we could do with less junk and fast food!
Fortunately, we’re coming to a place financially where we have more choice about where we shop, and more opportunity to give to those less fortunate than us by utilising our spending power to favour businesses treating their employees and those in their supply chains well.