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2nd December 2020

Can Fairtrade help tackle Modern Slavery?

In the run up to Christmas, we can easily get caught up in the season of consumption. As part of a more simple and mindful approach, buying Fairtrade gifts and treats can support growers and producers around the world to get a fair deal for their labour.

Sadly, our friends at Carrs Lane Fairtrade Shop are closing down, but that does mean that they have stock to clear ahead of Christmas. And you can continue supporting Fairtrade suppliers such as Traidcraft by ordering from them directly.

What does Fairtrade have to do with our current theme on modern slavery?

At the heart of modern slavery is the idea of exploitation. People in an economically precarious situation are vulnerable to being exploited by those wielding economic power. Producers around the world are forced to accept the market price for their goods – even if that price is less than it cost them to grow or make their produce.

Fairtrade helps to tackle this by guaranteeing a minimum price for goods, and paying a dividend to producers. It supports co-operatives owned and run by the producers to take control of their own business.

Traidcraft Exchange are running a campaign Not this Christmas to highlight how the coronavirus crisis is threatening to push more producers into conditions of modern slavery. Their campaigning work compliments the main Traidcraft organisation which sells Fairtrade food and crafts from small scale producers around the world.

So this Christmas, look out for the Fairtrade logo as a simple way to support producers and help provide a safety net against exploitation.

Of course Fairtrade is trying to work within a global market system that is rife with exploitation, and in the long-term more structural reforms are needed. If you want to explore this issue in depth, Open Democracy are running a series of articles on Beyond Trafficking and Slavery.

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