Modern Day Slavery- Can I afford not to be convicted?

Before I was a mom, I used to marvel at how my mom-friends were so clueless about what was happening in the world and quite frankly I was pretty judgmental about how their talk seemed to center only on their children and their bodily functions and other accomplishments.  Of course now that I am a mom, I am TOTALLY guilty of telling poop stories at socially inappropriate times.  But worse I have to admit how easy it is to forget about life outside my family because the demands of every day life seem to suck up all brain activity.  I need other people to remind me of how I can care for my family and others too!

This Sunday was Freedom Sunday at my church.  We have been learning about how we can become involved in ending modern day slavery.  Our speaker, Kevin Austin, called for action from the Christian community in the work to end modern day slavery.   Kevin actually came to speak in chapel at the college where my husband works last year and stayed in our home, but I was unable to hear him speak and during our informal interactions I found myself unable to speak intelligently not only on the topic of slavery but also on what my response to slavery should be.  It was a privilege to hear his presentation today, and I feel both overwhelmed and moved by what I learned.

One of the most practical tools Kevin spoke about was a website called free2work.org which evaluates industries, specific products and companies in four categories that measure their involvement in perpetuating modern day slavery.  Their website and app, help train clueless people like me to become conscious consumers so that my chocolate habit doesn’t unwittingly enslave some five-year-old little girl.

After perusing the website, I honestly feel more overwhelmed than hopeful.  Very few companies that I have heard of score high.   Take children’s clothing for instance,  we shop where we can find the best deals.  But to my horror,nearly every children’s clothing line on the list that I recognized received a low score, except Old Navy which received a B.  Way to go Old Navy and Gap people!  But here is a listing of the failures–That’s an F people–Carters, Genuine Kids, Just One Year, OshKosh B’Gosh, and Child of Mine.  Faded Glory received a D+ and Disney received a C-.   The Children’s Place, which we shop often, was not rated.   How achingly ironic that keeping my kids clothed, keeps other kids in bondage.

And to think, I almost spent $40 at Carters just yesterday, but didn’t because I forgot my coupon!  But here’s the problem, if there are so many bad choices available where do we shop?  I understand that my demand for cheap clothes contributes to the problem,, but these companies should be kept accountable as well.

Am I really ready to kick my chocolate addiction?  I ate two handfuls of chocolate chips on the same day I heard that 70% of the world’s chocolate comes from slave labor.  worse, I told myself it was ok because I already bought it and I wouldn’t want to waste it.

I fear not being able to afford becoming a conscious consumer, but can I really afford not to be convicted about modern day slavery?   There is a lot to think about and I’m not sure how today will change me for the long haul, but I want to be a part of changing the way people are treated.  I want to stand up for the rights of those who have no voice.  That’s something I care about–it should be more important than chocolate or a great sale.

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