AIBU to ask how many slaves are working for you?

(61 Posts)
MiniTheMinx Mon 19-Nov-12 17:38:16

Discovered today that I have 55 slaves working for me. I have clothes, electrical goods, food and other goods in my home that have been made using slavery.

There are over 27 million slaves in the world today, many of them children. They exist in all parts of the world.

To discover how many slaves you have working for you you can do a survey here at the top of the page there is a link that says "how many slaves work for you"

quoteunquote Mon 19-Nov-12 18:27:06

Interesting, but it didn't have anyway of calibrating, if you are an ethical buyer.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 19-Nov-12 19:05:44

The survey conked out on me halfway through, but it was ridiculously slow so frustrating to use, especially on the very basic questions.

Anyway, I don't have any slaves working for me. I am not responsible for what huge companies do.

GrendelsMum Mon 19-Nov-12 19:31:19

very interesting - thanks very much for sharing!

I couldn't get it to give me any actions, though?

I think it makes an excellent point - we're all ready to tut tut at the British people of 200 years ago for eating their slave grown sugar and cotton, but rarely think about our own options for ethical consumption.

takataka Mon 19-Nov-12 19:37:27

Something like 70% of chocolate has slaves involved with picking/some point in production

Bogeyface Mon 19-Nov-12 19:37:59

Ok, but what is your plan to change this?

Its all very inducing guilt in us all, but given that sourcing ethically produced goods for all parts of life is a) very difficult and in some cases impossible b) time consuming and c) often prohibitively expensive, what good will it do?

I would far rather click on a link that had a considered and sensible manifesto for change and support it in whatever way was appropriate.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 19-Nov-12 19:42:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StickEmUp Mon 19-Nov-12 19:47:58

52 for me

FobblyWoof Mon 19-Nov-12 19:51:02

One. DP grin

What should I be doing?

MiniTheMinx Mon 19-Nov-12 20:01:20

I don't plan to do anything, I was just a bit surprised at my score to be honest, we are not great consumers.

Yes takataka I have read that somewhere, is it the Ivory Coast? where they have a lot of children on something like the equivalent of 40p a day. I had chocolate this afternoon, almost wish I hadn't.

I found the survey quite easy to do but a bit quirky and I kept getting a bit lost !

MiniTheMinx Mon 19-Nov-12 20:02:26

NorksAreMessy have you done the survey? it doesn't ask for too much info and no personal info.

skaen Mon 19-Nov-12 20:10:59

36. It was frustrating though. I am pretty aware of ethical purchasing so we grow a lot of our own vegetables, we buy meat direct from the farms and try to buy ethical clothes, we have a car but very rarely use it (and got hit by the slavery involved in making bikes even though my bike is made in Holland).

I didn't think it refined the categories enough -its all very well asking for quantities of things but it would be useful to screen a bit more.

The question at the end pissed me off a little bit. If you're an aware enough consumer to be taking the test in the first place, you are likely to be pretty clear on how the sex industry works.

MakeItALarge Mon 19-Nov-12 20:19:21

Doesnt work on my phone. Bit daft to blame the average consumer though, there are more people in slavery now than at the height of the 'slave trade'. We can all shop as ethically as possible, but its not going to have much impact on what is a huge global problem.

RuleBritannia Mon 19-Nov-12 20:22:38

I'm not defending the slavemasters but, MiniTheMinx, what is 40p in Ivory Coast could well be the value of a week's salary here.

28, however like other posters have said it needs more filters. It would not let me take into account that most of my meat/veg/salad comes from my local butchers.

It was eye opening though.

Softlysoftly Mon 19-Nov-12 20:24:41

Erm if the kids get paid 40p per day they aren't technically slaves though confused.

Thought provoking but TBH like PP said ultimately forgettable unless there is a specific way to improve matters. My understanding is most of the countries are so corrupt it's hard to trust even "ethical" products.

MammaTJ Mon 19-Nov-12 20:41:05

43 apparently.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 19-Nov-12 21:04:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wannaBe Mon 19-Nov-12 21:04:16

The problem with all this emotive tal about slavery etc is that people base their thoughts and opinions on UK standards, when actually it doesn't work like that.

So we all stop buying from companies that use "slave" labour, and then what? 43P a day might not be anything to any of us, but to someone in a third world country it is potentially the difference between being able to eat and going hungry.

None of us would want our children having to work to earn a living, but reality is that in many countries there isn't any other choice. Take away that 43P a day income, and they have nothing. there isn't a benefits system to fall back on, no government credit or hand-outs, you earn what you can, or you starve, and then the sanctemonious amongst us who generally don't have a clue of what it's like in the third world other than what they've seen on tv stickk their oar in and demand that these companies stop employing children because it's just not right.

Maybe here in the UK where we have council housing and benefits and a massive culture of entitlement it's not right, but in the third world there isn't any other choice, and other culture doesn't emulate our own...

MiniTheMinx Mon 19-Nov-12 21:04:24

I agree softly I am rarely buy "free trade" I have always been a bit circumspect about it and assumed it was a bit of a rip off.

oh no, I didn't mean that the kids on the ivory coast working for 40p were slaves although it seems that slavery is happening there as well. I don't know what 40p is worth but these people are being exploited, chocolate and coffee is horrendously expensive here and it's obvious the growers and workers are not benefiting.

MiniTheMinx Mon 19-Nov-12 21:11:14

I rarely distracted by the fact that the battery is nearly dead on my keyboard, I can't think straight.

I agree with StewieGriffinsMom working and living below the poverty line, in conditions such as some people in the third world are living is slavery. They have no choice, no education, there is no escape, nothing to aspire to. Farmers have so little control over what they grow and who they sell to. Although i did read about farmers being given phones with aps that would update them on corn/wheat prices, weather reports and the such like so that they could plan and they could sell at better prices.

CrunchyFrog Mon 19-Nov-12 21:14:22

54 but it doesn't take into account that most of our clothes are second hand, same for bikes, gadgets etc. Don't know if that should make a difference.

ginnybag Mon 19-Nov-12 21:17:38

Well, I'd be more impressed if their guilt-inducing quiz had been formatted correctly, so that I could get past question two.

GrunglyBum Mon 19-Nov-12 21:24:34

I got to question 4 and have given up, it is too frustrating to use.

MsAverage Mon 19-Nov-12 21:39:42

Checked out my country of origin, LOLed. The industries listed there actually have highest wages in the country, and social support (longevity of paid holidays, medical services, etc) of workers and their families is truly outstanding.

The design of the site is, though, awesome.

Bogeyface Mon 19-Nov-12 21:43:39

I don't plan to do anything, I was just a bit surprised at my score to be honest, we are not great consumers.

So I wonder what the point is in inducing hand wringing angst when there is no plan or campaign to change anything? And I agree that while 40p a day isnt enough, it is better than nothing.

Interesting that on another thread it has been said by many people that the cost of food is becoming a problem and that something should be done to lower the costs, and then reality of where cheap food comes from is highlighted here. The problem is that us as consumers have driven the price of food down, including in the UK with milk money paid to farmers being lower than the cost of production. We are not victims of inflated costs, we are returning to the reality of what it actually costs to produce the food we buy.

MiniTheMinx Mon 19-Nov-12 22:17:24

Have consumers driven the price of food down, I thought it was businesses that did that in competition to each other. I would agree that food prices need to actually reflect their true cost. Problem is that some people are in food poverty now.

InNeedOfBrandy Mon 19-Nov-12 22:29:19

63 I didn't think we were that bad. sad

Bogeyface Mon 19-Nov-12 22:33:50

It is consumer led because we all want cheaper everything so we go to the cheapest supplier. The other suppliers need to lower their costs to compete but dont want to lower their profits, and as they have the power to dictate, they simply go to the cheapest manufacturer who will lower their own overheads in order to keep their profit too. The loser is the child who was working for 50p a day but is now working for 40p a day because their employer can do as he likes.

Bogeyface Mon 19-Nov-12 22:35:50

It is naive to think that people will not go to the cheapest supplier for the same item if they can. Yes, a very small minority will shop ethically, but most, especially in our own current financial crisis, will go with the cheapest option.

Bogeyface Mon 19-Nov-12 22:37:17

And....having a conscience is expensive these days. Ethics are a luxury beyond many, including me sad

MammaTJ Mon 19-Nov-12 22:38:08

It barelyy gives a glance to local bought and zero tea and coffee intake!!

61 - I did the "refining" panels on the left as well.

But a lot of those questions referred to items I own - but know are produced in the UK/EU - so shouldn't apply.

Apparently "slaves" produce baby oat cereal.... Not the Hipp Organic stuff they don't!

I get the feeling it's designed to make you think rather than being in any way actually indicative, it's not comprehensive enough to be that.

MiniTheMinx Mon 19-Nov-12 23:08:15

So we all go for the cheapest possible because we are......rolling in it or because we are becoming slowly more impoverished? also if the lower price we pay is being passed on in the form of lower wages to others, does that not imply that the percentage of profit being taken out by corporations and businesses is still the same?

I wondered about that too, it doesn't ask about tea and coffee.

kittyandthegoldenfontanelles Tue 20-Nov-12 00:13:42

Does anyone understand what to do with the 'fine tuning' button?

Apparently I have 9 slaves working for me. How the Cripes do they know that after asking if I have a child and how many bedrooms my house has? It doesn't make any sense. Am I missing something crucial here?

kittyandthegoldenfontanelles Tue 20-Nov-12 00:15:51

I can't have completed the survey surely? confused

Bogeyface Tue 20-Nov-12 00:20:22

We go for the cheapest because we know we can. We know that Tesco, Asda et al will do anything to keep our custom and if that means screwing over a 7 year old in a developing country then thats fine as long as the shareholders still get their payout.

And yes, exactly, the profit is still the same. The cutting of costs is passed down to those who cant fight it, the workers.

Bogeyface Tue 20-Nov-12 00:21:11

I didnt make it passed page one one of the survey, it was too glitchy.

garlicbaguette Tue 20-Nov-12 00:38:16

Ethical consumption doesn't have to be massively expensive. The problem isn't consumer pressure for lower prices (the UK is not particularly cheap), as much as retailer & wholesaler pressure for wider margins. When Tesco's buyer drives down the price of a supplier's produce - which s/he is bound to do by the terms of the job - Tesco doesn't reduce the price of those goods to you, it just pockets the difference (and wriggles out of tax, but that's another thread).

If consumers seriously refused to buy stuff that was not both reasonably ethical AND reasonably priced, middlemen would have to find a way to take the hit. Since it's extremely hard to get this concept across to mass market consumers, legislation could do the job quicker. That ain't gonna happen any time soon, obv, so the better approach is to actually read the bumf on your food packaging and do some background checking. Aldi and Lidl carry a surprising amount of 'fairer trade' foods, as well as ethically farmed/caught meat and fish. They would probably respond well to enquiries about the provenance of the other goods they sell, too.

But we Brits make noises, not changes. Got an iphone/ipad? I bet you decided not to read the suicide factory stories before you bought the new one.

Since you ask, my phone & laptop are Japanese, though some of the components were made in China and India under what I suspect are dodgy conditions. Anyway, OP, I'm still cross with you for saying women don't understand economics!

garlicbaguette Tue 20-Nov-12 00:39:37

... and that website's down, so I haven't done the Q.

mortimersraven Tue 20-Nov-12 00:44:45

What a beautiful survey! The graphics are ace!

50 sad

Agree with bogey, ethics are expensive. But not all companies go for the lowest price with no regard for the people working there. Part of my job is to audit our Asian suppliers to make sure the staff aren't being exploited. I can sleep at night knowing our customers are buying fair ethical products at sky high prices

garlicbaguette Tue 20-Nov-12 01:15:04

37. I'm average. I signed up for 'take action' but it remains to be seen what action I've signed up to!

It is beautifully done. Thanks, Minx - I'm glad I waited for it to get back up smile

ripsishere Tue 20-Nov-12 01:27:45

I didn't see a survey.
I do try to buy ethically and locally where possible. Unfortunately in Malaysia there are few opportunities.
I use our local wet market when possible and buy locally grown tea for DH even though it is miles more expensive than imported PG tips.

Flimflammery Tue 20-Nov-12 01:37:06

Has no-one noticed that it's a US website, so it assumes US shopping and lifestyle patterns?

kittyandthegoldenfontanelles Tue 20-Nov-12 02:02:05

Flim, the first question asked where you lived and placed you on a world map.

After that I was asked, age, gender, ethnicity I suppose because I has to colour myself pink or brown, then if I had children, then to fill in my house. That was it for me...surely there were more questions?

I got 70. I don't suppose it takes into account that many of our clothes are secondhand or sewn by me (often from recycled second hand clothing). Yes we all have bikes but 3 of the four were secondhand. I do have an iphone though and we have macs. Bad big bird, bad big bird.

Can I be forgiven if I say I bought fair trade chocolate and coffee today? What if I say a lot of our food is semi-local because we live in California?

ripsishere Tue 20-Nov-12 05:17:27

OK, I did it. Brilliant graphics.
Apparently, I have 64 slaves working for me. I wish one would do the pile of ironing and mop the floor <lazy fuckers>

SaraBellumHertz Tue 20-Nov-12 05:52:36

Three figures - based on the fact that I have a large family and a large home and possibly the wardrobe doesn't help

It all seems a bit pointless and makes huge assumptions based on quantity with no calibration for the choices one makes. E.g. I buy an awful lot of British made goods but the survey seems to assume I purchase clothes only that have been manufactured in Pakistan.

McKayz Tue 20-Nov-12 06:00:31

I can't do the test on my phone.

40p is 326.28 Central African francs. DH works out of Abidjan sometimes. I'm used to working out stuff like that now.

McKayz Tue 20-Nov-12 06:19:29

Or the West African Franc is the same.

Really shouldn't use brain this early in the morning.

wannaBe Tue 20-Nov-12 06:31:07

I read an article on fairtrade once - it's a complete misnoma because the fairtrade farmers are tied to the companies - they are allowed to sell to no-one else because of watertight contracts. so fairtrade is no less unethical...

garlicbaguette Tue 20-Nov-12 11:43:24

I'm not surprised about that, wannaBe. If a company has committed itself to operating in tighter circumstances - probably having to sell at higher prices and shoulder smaller margins - and forked out for improved working conditions, healthcare and education for the suppliers, obviously they won't want Slavery Inc. barging in and taking their supply away from them!

Jingleflobba Tue 20-Nov-12 11:56:08

So what do we do?
If we boycott companies that use 'slave' labour the company stops using that supplier. Potentially hundreds of people out of work and the big company just moves onto another supplier who also uses unethical working practices. There will always be someone ready to jump into the breach using cheap methods.
Am off to do the test now.

purplequiche Tue 20-Nov-12 12:03:07

Its interesting how people assume that if you buy British you are not relying on slave labour, the Morcambe cockle pickers anyone?

I work in the anti-trafficking/ slavery field and recently heard of over 30 slaves being kept as 'chicken catchers' on a British farm. According to one report:

"It has been reported that the catching teams worked on farms supplying eggs to McDonald's, Tesco, Asda, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's. They also worked on farms supplying Noble's Happy Egg brand"

We also have children and young men being exploited in the construction trade, kids exploited in restaurants/ catering, Vietnamese kids kept as slaves growing cannabis and in nail bars to name just a few.. trafficking and slavery is not something which just happens overseas.

MiniTheMinx Tue 20-Nov-12 12:05:49

I thought the graphics were very good, it was entertaining in it's own right and whilst the survey is not indepth and is very general I think it draws peoples attention to the fact that so many people are still being exploited as slaves. I thought slavery was made illegal 150 years ago. And that our consumption and the greed within the markets drives this. And yes it seems to be an American site so it assumes American patterns of consumption and quite disconcerting for me, Clinton got behind it when it was launched, not sure if that is good.

I am going to sign up to take action, what ever that involves??? I know that one of their actions is to get consumers to write to companies asking about the chain and how they ensure they are ethically sourcing.

I read The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy by Noreen Hertz a little while ago, where she concludes that because the corporates and the party of Wall street now have so much power, the only way we see democracy working is in how people shop and their interaction directly with businesses. I think the boycott against Tescos during the DWP lies over Workfare shows that consumers can have quite a lot of clout.

MiniTheMinx Tue 20-Nov-12 12:09:43

X posted with purplequiche thank you purple, interesting and very worthy job and heart breaking too. If we have kid's being exploited in catering here, how come this isn't known. What can ordinary people do that would really help?

purplequiche Tue 20-Nov-12 12:34:49

Mini I think there are several reasons why the public are not informed about/ don't recognise these issues:

- The numbers are quite small, there are estimated to be 200 children trafficked into the UK every year (for various forms of exploitation, so catering, other forms of forced labour, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, begging, street crime etc), these manifest as small isolated cases dotted all over the country.

- We (as a nation) are so paranoid about border control that the media choose to protray these kids as illegal immigrants. So if you watch those fly on the walls documentaries on Living for example, where they show sniffer dogs jumping into the back of lorries at Calais it will be framed as pesky immigrants wanting to come here to work in the black economoy when in fact many will be children who are groomed, coerced and forced here by 'agents'. Its pretty standard for the girls (and some boys) to be raped on route, the kids who are picked up often present with PTSD and other mental health problems, some will have been orphaned street kids with clear cognitive issues but UKBA and the Police often fail to recognise their own child protection duties and treat them as criminals. There is one case in a regional newspaper at the minute that I could absolutely blow the top off if I were allowed to.

- I go all over the country delivering training on this issue but we specifically target professionals as these kids are so hidden and isolated that members of the public are unlikely to come across them, there is therefore little value in targetting the public. We focus more on social workers, police, UKBA, health visitors, walk-in centres, abortion clinics, travel and tourism agencies etc.

GrendelsMum Tue 20-Nov-12 12:52:28

Thank you PurpleQuiche.

There was an excellent Radio 4 Woman's Hour dram highlighting some of these issues lately.

I tried really hard but couldn't get it to work properly, scored 100 slaves! but I know that wasn't accurate, I couldn't even enter my children properly. It was interesting though, thanks for sharing. It is very easy to forget where our produce/ christmas presents etc come from.

Ferngirl Tue 20-Nov-12 14:25:23

I scored 92!

I'm sure it was because of my wardrobe, but its all second hand and from charity shops!

Loved the graphics though.

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