How many slaves work for you ? A fifth of clothing comes from forced labor


The only acceptable answer is zero. The majority of those consulted would answer without flinching the question of how many slaves they work for them than everything, of course. But it’s lie.

Seemingly innocuous data such as What are you eating, what clothes do you wear, what medications do you take and what electronic appliances you use to bring out a much more disturbing reality. Dozens of slaves work for you. There is a provocative tool that allows this calculation to be made with relative precision, at a time when multiply the alarms on the expansion of forced labor in recent years.

A report published last week by the UN concludes that between 2016 and 2021, due to climate change, the pandemic and armed conflicts, the number of victims of forced labor increased from 25 to 28 million worldwide, especially in factories, construction and agriculture. It’s a hidden reality, shunned by governments and citizens of developed countries, who prefer to look elsewhere, more pleasant and morally less problematic. However, the EU announced last Wednesday a milestone to combat this scourge.

The European Commission will ban the products made by forced labor. The new regulation will not be approved until next year and two more will need to be adopted before member states start applying it. Several NGOs have already criticized it because it will be national governments that will determine how they apply it and why avoid citing a particular country or sector, but there is no question of who will be primarily affected by this measure: China.

Beijing has imposed forced labor on the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region for years, according to numerous surveys. It is estimated that one-fifth of cotton products used by the fashion industry are “stained & rdquor; for this exploitation of the Chinese regime, along with half of all polysilicon worldwide, a key component of solar panels.

The calculation

The european consumers They take advantage of it all. They usually don’t know, or don’t want to know, or act like they don’t, but there is a tool that brings this unseen reality into the world. more personal sphere, allowing you to calculate how many of your possessions a slave has intervened. It’s called the Slavery Footprint and the mechanism is simple: a survey of your drinking habits.

let’s say a close example. This editor. Man, 45, with girlfriend and young son, has a car, no jewelry, lives for rent in a three-bedroom apartment in Madrid, tries to eat a healthy diet, his wardrobe is quite squalid, he is not not very prone to buying tech gadgets, uses few beauty products and hardly takes any medications.

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The tool asks for all these details. As you get the answers, offer Data They help to understand the magnitude of the problem. For example, in the tab that asks about age, he explains that for many Pakistani boys, forced labor starts at 13 and ends at 30. Regarding food: “Forced labor is common in a large part of the population. seafood industry in Southeast Asia, which imposes 20-hour working days to shell 18 kilograms of shrimp & rdquor;. Or on jewelry: “It’s not just blood diamonds. The ruby they are the second product that Burma exports the most, after teak wood, and in their mines they generally use forced labor & rdquor ;.

And that’s how you get to the last screen, which gives you the number of slaves working for you. In this case, 44. That is, 44 more only acceptable answer.

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