Justice issues are the reason I began researching Socially Responsible Investing. Our first blog (ChocolateLikeGold) describes how my family became aware of the forced labor of children on the cocoa farms of West Africa. The topic of human trafficking is possibly the most important justice related issue addressed in the realm of responsible investing.
Companies need to be held responsible for knowing the entire supply chain related to the products they produce. Putting pressure on these companies through consumer purchasing power and shareholder activism is of vital importance to addressing these issues.
On this Human Trafficking Awareness Day I want to introduce you to two local organizations that are on the front lines. Maybe the part you can play in this effort against modern slavery is to simply become more informed. You might start by visiting the websites of these organizations.
Sudara makes hip, extremely cute and comfortable pajamas (Punjammies) – according to the ladies in my house. They make other clothing items as well, but what they’re really making is a means to survive for women rescued from the sex slave trade in India. “While it may seem overwhelming, we are hopeful because we are seeing how safe, sustainable jobs are making a way for women to make their way out of the trade- and stay out.” Sudara.org
Another statement from their website really summarizes the heart of the trafficking issue: “Let’s get right down to it: No human being should be owned by anyone, anywhere, for any reason- ever. It really is that simple.”
The Guardian Group (TheGuardianGroup) is another locally based organization fighting to end human trafficking, but with an entirely different approach. “Our team draws upon decades of experience fusing intelligence and operations to achieve counter network effects against human sex-trafficking in the U.S. Our focus is on predators and networks specifically involved in child sex-trafficking, with the intent to gain an offensive advantage against this problem.” I don’t know about you, but that description gets me pumped! Especially when you consider some of the following statistics listed on their site.
• Human trafficking is the second largest crime industry generating 150 billion every year.
• The US State Department reports that 600 to 800 thousand people are trafficked across international borders every year.
• 12 years old is the average age of entry.
Let’s make a difference today by becoming more aware and seeing where that might take us.