Graham Martin the oraniser of an anti-slavery party at the saddlers arms in Lympstone with Michaela Alfred-Kamara the education officer for anti-slavery International. Photo by Terry Ife ref exv 9218-31-12TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24
Thursday, February 21, 2013
The chairman of the local branch of an anti-slavery group is urging Exmouth shoppers to buy ethically to help stamp out modern day slavery.
Lympstone’s Graham Martin, the chairman of the Exeter Anti-Slavery Group, made the call the week before Fair Trade Fortnight kicks off which runs until March 10.
Exmouth was the first Fair Trade Town in East Devon and now more than 20 retailers including supermarkets, cafes, bakeries, shops and pubs are registered as Fair Trade stores.
Fair Trade helps producers get a better deal for their goods, but he says, despite a greater awareness of ‘ethical capitalism’, forced labour is still rife throughout the world.
And the majority of Exmouth people have at one time or another bought everyday items like clothes, carpets and decorations made by forced child labour.
He said: “Forced labour is a modern day form of slavery.
“When children and adults are forced to work for little or no money and without choice, that is slavery.
“There are 29 countries in the world where this happens and 50 covering 50 product groups.”
But the countries are not just the usual suspects of poor undeveloped economies. The second largest economy in the world – China he says, is one of the main culprits.
“China is number two on the list with regard to having 11 product groups where forced labour has been found to have been used.”
Chinese items like garments, nails and even toys, have all made it into British supply chains.
“In India children as young as three have been found in the manufacturing of carpets and rugs.”
Even the coal used to heat our homes over the chilly winter has come at a price – last year, in China more than 50 miners died because of poor working conditions.
And last September 314 people burnt to death as fire swept through the ground floor of a Pakistani factory because the exits were bolted shut.
Anti-Slavery International is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), an alliance of companies and non-governmental organisations whose goal is to ensure that the working conditions producing for the UK market meet or exceed international labour standards.
He said that residents could support Fair Trade products and added: “People can also write to the headquarters of various chain stores and ask what measures the company is taking to identify, prevent and end the use of forced labour and slavery in their supply chains.
“Ask at the same time if the company is a member of ETI and if not, why not?”