In 2010, President Obama designated January 11 as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day to call attention to a terrible trend: that worldwide, over 27 million people are currently enslaved, the highest number ever in recorded history. In fact, human trafficking is the second-largest criminal enterprise in the world today
While we tend to think of human trafficking as a problem in other countries, it’s happening right here. According to UNICEF, America is both a source and a destination for traffickers, with child trafficking cases having been reported in all 50 states. And in many of the beautiful and culturally rich countries where Mexicali Blues sources our world goods, human trafficking is taking an even more terrible toll.
So how are we taking a stand against human trafficking? And how can you help?
First, the single most important thing we can all do to prevent the enslavement of children and people living in poverty around the world is to always, always pay fair wages and fair prices for goods and services. Mexicali Blues sets our prices to keep the artisans we work with, and their families, safe. We personally visit not just markets, but different stages of our supply chain. We want to see for ourselves how our artisanal products are being made and to make sure that no one is mistreated or exploited in the process.
Second, we recognize that some of the most powerful efforts to stop human trafficking and exploitation are happening right in the communities that are most affected by it. And we’re so proud and honored to support them! One of these organizations spreading goodness from the ground up is Friends of Thai Daughters, and Mexicali Blues has helped to fund their work for years through our 1% corporate giving program for years.
Friends of Thai Daughters protects girls who were trafficked or who, due to poverty or social status, are most vulnerable to trafficking, by offering them a safe living environment and an education. These girls come from the hill tribes of Northern Thailand and are typically ages 8 to 23, without documentation or citizenship, orphaned, and/or victims of abuse. The shelter, support and skills they receive from Friends of Thai Daughters can completely transform their lives.
These girls and young women live happily and healthily in a bright, cheerful safe house called “The Sunflower House.” Kim Erskine, our co-owner, serves on the organization’s board, and she and her daughter Carly visited while in Thailand. Pete and Kim are looking forward to spending time at Sunflower House during this season’s buying trip.
We all need to be aware how our choices as consumers can contribute to a shameful world problem and use our purchasing power—and philanthropy—to prevent it!
You can learn more about Friends of Thai Daughters and their fight against human trafficking in Thailand on their website and on their Facebook page—and stay tuned for updates from Pete and Kim’s visit right here! You can also find great guidance on helping to stop human trafficking all around the world on the UNICEF website.