By NATALIA HAWK
How many slaves work for you?
How many slaves produce your coffee? How many slaves helped to create the smartphone you use every day? How many slaves made the t-shirt you’re wearing right now?
Slavery Footprint can tell you. It’s a website that was started by Justin Dillon, a musician who originally hosted benefit concerts for the anti-slavery movement. He made a documentary about human trafficking, was contacted by the US State Department, and created an online interactive survey that would help individuals understand their connection to modern-day slavery.
Before doing the survey, I didn’t understand the significance of the supply chain and how it relates to slavery. I didn’t know that more people are currently enslaved than any other time in history – about 27 million, in fact, which is just about the combined population of Australia and New Zealand.
And this is across all industries. The fishing industry, the sex industry, agriculture, mining. Producing coffee, cocoa, cotton. In a country such as Haiti, it’s estimated that 1 in 10 children are living in slavery. In Pakistan, 250,000 children live and work in brick kilns in total isolation.
Slavery Footprint introduces us to Ebenezer – a child who works 17 hours per day, fishing on Lake Volta in Ghana. He is one of thousands of kids who have been sold and forced into working on the lake. Ebenezer spends his time diving underwater to unhook heavy nets. He gets minimal food.