Can design, a field closely tied to production, effect change in consumption? Labor rights advocate Kalpona Akter discusses the concept of a “slavery footprint” this week on the Design and Violence blog.
[Made in a Free World (est. 2011). MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER (est. 2010). Slavery Footprint™. 2011. HTML 5 website. Image courtesy the designers]
Thailand's most senior human trafficking investigator is seeking political asylum in Australia. Why? His investigations have implicated influential people in the military, police, and government, and he now fears for his life.
Dorothy, Office Manager and Communication Wiz: Today I learned that human trafficking takes place all over the world, especially in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Between 12 and 27 million people worldwide are estimated to be enslaved
After taking the quiz, I found out I have 37 slaves working for me. This surprised me because I never realized how much stuff I actually have and just how much this impacts other people’s lives. Truthfully it makes me sad, it saddens me that I did not know that other people are slaves so I can have luxuries in my life. I never realized just how oblivious I am to the world and what really happens in other places. I think it is sad that we live in a society that essentially hides this information from consumers, I feel as if many people are not aware of this issue and would be surprised to learn how many slaves work for them. Or maybe people do know, but they choose just to ignore it? For me, I never really took the time to consider this issue, I did not know it was still so prominent. And it angers me that we live in a society where we can spend our entire lives oblivious to this problem, while millions of others give up their lives so we can listen to music or go shopping. But that leaves me with the question, well, how I can I change this? How can I shop and live my life more ethically. We are not given many accessible alternative options. If i need a lamp for my room, I am going to go to Target to buy a cheap $10 lamp, because it is easy; there is not a fair labor store down the street. That is not to say that it makes it okay, because it does not, it just makes it difficult to produce change. I found that many of my slaves come from my use of gadgets like my laptop, DVD player, and CDs. This surprised me the most, I never knew there were slaves involved in my ownership of these products. This all just makes me wonder what kind of world we live in and why I have allowed my self to be so oblivious and disconnected. I do not want any individual, let alone 37 people, spending their lives as slaves so that I can be happy and live comfortably. I think there needs to be more awareness in order for there to be any change, and I hope to help this happen.