• Libby Sorrell

People shouldn't be bought and sold


How does STT fits into the whole Fair trade picture?

STOP THE TRAFFIK Australia exists to prevent, disrupt, and abolish the abuse and harm of buying and selling people. It opposes human trafficking and slavery in all its forms – children forced to become child soldiers; forced marriage; organ trafficking; women and girls as young as 3 years trafficked into the sex industry (19% of all victims of trafficking) and labour trafficking which accounts for the largest proportion of trafficking victims (around 64%).

People working under conditions of forced labour may or may not have been trafficked. Some children are born into bonded labour, for example in brick kilns in India where whole families are required to pay off ‘debts’. Human trafficking does not always involve travel to the destination of exploitation: 2.2 million (14%) of victims of forced labour were moved either internally or internationally, while 3.5 million (74%) of victims of sexual exploitation were living outside their country of residence (International Labour Organization (ILO) and Walk Free Foundation). Industries at highest risk of the use of trafficked and forced labour in their supply chains are chocolate, the cotton industry (from cotton fields through to the finished product), other agricultural products such as bananas, sugar, tea and palm oil, fishing, construction, mining, quarrying and brick kilns. All of these are imported into Australia.

Labour trafficking is where STOP THE TRAFFIK and Fair Trade meet. STOP THE TRAFFIK in Australia focuses currently on the chocolate, cotton, seafood and tea industries. It works alongside big business to ensure that there is no trafficked or forced labour anywhere in these supply chains. One key to such assurance is certification by an objective third party body which can inspect farms and factories and ensure that all workers are being paid fairly. Fair Trade is of course one of the main certifiers (in most cases the preferred!, the other two are Rainforest Alliance and UTZ) so STOP THE TRAFFIK’s role in its campaign work is often to encourage consumers to buy Fair Trade-certified products where possible. Certification with a point-of-sale logo is the one easy way the general public can support ethically-made products without having to do their own research. (Ethical shopping guides are helpful too of course). Fair Trade’s mandate is broader than addressing just trafficking and slavery – it addresses the inequalities in the global value chain and, in its concern for trade justice, advocates among other things giving farmers a voice. But workers who have been trafficked and are enslaved have no voice so Fair Trade naturally addresses STOP THE TRAFFIK’s concerns.

Watch this space for more on Stop the Traffik. READ MORE

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