How many slaves work for you?

Find out here what your slavery footprint is.

What you do is answer the questions about the foods you eat, the clothes you wear, the kind of house you have, the stuff you own etc, and based on reports from various organisations and an algorithms for the score of a large number of products and product groups, you get an estimate.

They define slavery as follows:

Anyone who is forced to work without pay, being economically exploited, and is unable to walk away. Note: Forced Labor, also known as involuntary servitude, may result when unscrupulous employers exploit workers made more vulnerable by high rates of unemployment, poverty, crime, discrimination, corruption, political conflict, or cultural acceptance of the practice. Immigrants are particularly vulnerable, but individuals also may be forced into labor in their own countries. Female victims of forced or bonded labor, especially women and girls in domestic servitude, are often sexually exploited as well.

They provide tips on how to diminish your slavery footprint, too. A very good initiative, I think!

You can follow Slavery Footprint on twitter here.

Via Adinda Akkermans @nrcnext

15 thoughts on “How many slaves work for you?

  1. I’ve criticized this one before, but not in English.

    There is no option for buying my groceries locally produced or fair-trade where possible, not having carpeted floors, thrifting or making my own clothes, etc.
    I do get the general idea, that everyone has slaves working for them, but for me the test is just giving out an impression of not being very well-made. Or not made for the nitpicker ;)

  2. I had a thought rather similar to Marianne’s when I first saw this, but a great deal may depend on the target audience. If the goal is to pitch this website at the average citizen of a Western, industrial/post-industrial nation, then there’s not much reason to draw those distinctions. Part of the positive writeup could then involve introducing options like thrifting, going organic/fair-trade, etc.

  3. I think it would be lovely if it would lead to people asking for slavery-free products, in such a way that it will become embarassing for a seller to say, I am sorry, I don’t have any.
    In the same vein that it is embarassing for a restaurant to have to inform you that alas, the tuna/salmon/whatever is not from sustainable sources, I am sorry, we don’t serve organic meat, etc.
    If it gets normal enough to insist on slavery-free goods, providers will make sure they have them. And at some point, it will be just too darned awkward to have to announce that the goods you sell are not slavery free. As it should be.
    But first, you have to make people aware that they actually should ask about it. I used not to ask about the origines of the tuna being served in a restaurant, now I always do and I don’t have it if the source is wrong. (Not to start the argument if there’s any good tuna at all, btw, it is just an example).

  4. I downloaded this app yesterday, but haven’t used it yet. Isn’t it just a good thing to know the impact of our actual uses even if we cannot change the products we use? There are other things we can do, such as donating to organizations that take action to end slavery.

  5. I have for years called my art studio assistants slaves, sometimes they are working for school credit sometimes they are getting a stipend for the summer sometimes they are volunteers…and my assistant this summer got a living wage and drove me out of my fucking mind….with her negative/ always right attitude and her never ending grandiose feeling of entitlement. Something I find is very common in young women these days who are in women’s studies. They disrespect their elders, nothing is enough for them and frankly I was left with a horrible taste in my mouth after the whole experience. I don’t think I have a slave-driver mentality, nor do I abuse my position as a mentor and someone to learn from. I have fired volunteers because their work was terrible and you don’t often get what you pay for. I know we are talking about a different kind of slavery here…but I’m almost ready to consider getting one of those kinky slave situations going…hell who the fuck cares if they get the work done if it turns them on and they have to go, hide in corner and beat off. I don’t make a shit load of money but live like I do, support other’s like I do, and experiences like this make me begin to resent it.

    I love the word SLAVE…but treat the people I call that with the utmost respect in hopes that they will learn from me how to be good artists and work hard, and how to find inspiration in the mundane.

  6. Here’s an article on a special case, chocolate: http://foodispower.org/slavery_chocolate.htm

    And note that at the end, they link to a list of slavery-free chocolate companies (as near as one can determine, of course): http://www.foodispower.org/chocolatelist.htm The list is only partial, of course, and leans toward covering (a) national US brands and (b) local brands available around San Diego, where the Food Empowerment Project is based. My understanding is that they’re always looking for people who can help expand the list (viz., by corresponding with local chocolate companies who aren’t on the list yet; they’ll help with designing the correspondence). My partner has been working with them on expanding the list to Canadian & Vancouver-area companies. It’s worth getting in touch with them if anyone’s got interest & time. And worth trying to keep to the companies on the “good” list, too.

  7. My quick twocents in three statements:

    1) I love the idea of this and believe the spirit /sentiments behind it are incredibly important (definitely including, but not limited to, hippocampa’s excellent comment #3). Super great post! Thanks so much hippocampa!

    2) On the other hand, I question certain parts of their “methodology” and my suspicions grow rather high when I cannot find out who is writing, running, and advising this website/webpage(s) and the material on it. If anyone can find this info, please provide a link to it in a comment. (Also, I find their “Terms & Conditions” an embarrassment for a website/project of this kind. Sorry but no further clarification on this comment from me here.)

    3) In contrast, super big thanks to Roger for his comment #6. The links he provides are great, and the Food Empowerment Project behind the links looks like a truly excellent organization in every important way. This is precisely what we and the world need. (Just more. More people involved, more like minded organizations in other areas…)

  8. I was amused to find out that I have been a slave. Both in one of my day jobs (printing t shirts) and my hobbies (I build bicycles and grow veges). Well, either that or my coworkers and friends are. I shall have to enquire.

    I suspect that any green extremist is going to feel royally annoyed at the assumptions behind the site. There’s no provision for second hand goods (they’re double counted), fair trade or any ethical choices, and little distinction between things that differ a lot (a professional camera counts the same as a keyring one).

    The food source rings thing is an appalling user interface. The way the rings interact makes it very hard to be accurate. Trying to say “fish once a month” was almost impossible, and I got the impression that they think Australian beef is processed in the USA, judging by the way it affected the slave count. Which put me right off the rest of the survey. Australia is not the US, despite the best efforts of some people.

  9. I could not take the survey, the website design is too big for my minicomputer screen. But I could not keep myself from wondering… how many slaves work for this Fair Trade Fund. Considering this ad, at least one : “Fair Trade Fund Inc. has great opportunity for those who want to pursue a career in graphic design. They are looking for interns to be a part of their team. This internship program is unpaid; however, college credit is available for those who qualify for the position.”
    http://www.internalert.com/2011/09/fair-trade-fund-inc-is-looking-for-a-graphic-design-intern-oakland-ca/
    If the general idea – making us realise we do not pay the full social price of the products we buy – is a good one, it is troubling that the organism behind this website seems to be trying to hide itself.

  10. it is part of the culture behind apps that there are reworked and changed. Creative work tends to have this interested feature: it starts off with imperfections. Unless, of course, you are Steve Job who will drive everyone crazy until the thing is the very best it can be, and comes out years late.

  11. Fannie:

    It didn’t work on my computer screen either or I didn’t have the patience to keep changing the position of the whole thing on my screen to see what I had to do.

    I don’t have a mini-computer, but I do have a cheap small screen and a fairly old computer.

    It does seem bizarre that a program designed to point out how we use underpaid labor to keep up to date in technology demands a huge screen or a state of the art computer to look at it.

  12. Re: Frannie and fatfem – the idea that unpaid, career-furthering volunteer work that you can stop at will any time is somehow ‘slavery’ or even seen as on the same continuum as slavery is deeply disturbing. Not even a little bit the same.

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