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Addressing Exploitation: Battling Human Trafficking through Consumer Choices

Aug 2, 2023 | 0 comments

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Aug 2, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


Human trafficking is described as harboring, transportation, transfer, receipt, or recruitment of an individual by the use of force, coercion, or abduction to abuse position or power to exploit a vulnerable individual. In the world of today, human trafficking has become a worldwide problem. Inclusive of the United States, sexual slavery, debt bondage, and forced labor are taking place all over the world. This problem has been overlooked by many governments and even though there are many laws and declarations concerning it, it is still occurring. Traditionally, most people were majorly used as agricultural laborers and home servants. However, most people today are used for prostitution and jobs like brick making. It is estimated by the International Labor Organization that almost 21 million individuals are forced labor victims and their suffering is facilitated by the use of products made by the slaves (Wheaton et al. p.115).


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One of the major products of slavery that I use almost all the time is fish. I love to fish and it is one of my favorite dishes. I have not been aware that the fish that is sold to us is majorly caught by people considered as slaves in different countries before it gets to our country. The Korean ship captains abuse their laborers and sometimes force them to work for almost 30 hours consecutively abusing them sexually and not giving them enough compensation for their hard work. The companies in New Zealand buy the fish from the Koreans. The environmental inspectors from New Zealand ignore this slavery by saying it is not their job. Lastly, American distributors purchase this catch and this is what ends up on our tables (Albert et al., p144).

The second product I use daily and I was not aware of was from slave labor in cocoa. I use cocoa for my early morning beverage because I prefer it to coffee and I enjoy eating chocolates; most people actually do. One of the biggest cocoa producers in the world is the Ivory Coast. Cocoa is used in the production of chocolates and it majorly comes from this country. Despite its good and large production, it has been estimated that it has child laborers which add up to almost 250 000 of them. Most of the chocolates and cocoa consumers including myself are not aware of how it is produced and harvested. People should be made aware of their source and how young children are forced into these farms to harvest and plant them. If most consumers are made aware, then a lot can be done to stop this kind of exploitation of young ones.

The third product I use daily of sugar. Who likes sugarless tea? Chocolates, beverages, and most snacks are made with sugar as one of the major ingredients. What we do not know is that sugar production, sugarcane planting, and harvesting requires a lot of work that most of the farm owners cannot do. They hence are forced to employ young people who cannot fight for their labor rights and end up doing a lot of work for very little pay. Our world has a sugar addiction therefore we need to have more production of it. One of the hardest products to be harvested is sugar. The more it is needed by people the more workers are needed and that is why they opt for children who are majorly exploited, unlike the adult laborers.

Now that I have clear knowledge about how these products are made available in our markets today, I am going to make a change because it all starts with me. First and foremost, my consumption of fish is going to reduce slowly until I can stop consuming it completely. Before I get to the point where I will not consume fish, I am going to be purchasing organic fish as expensive as it might be. I am not going to promote the Korean market and I will try to influence my friends and family not to as well. I will help in the elimination of this slave-made product’s market by avoiding their products at all costs. I used these products before because I was not aware but now that I am aware, it is a game-changer for my breast cancer. Ann has been a staunch Christian since childhood just like the rest of her family, friends, and me.

The cocoa, chocolates, and sugar, I am not sure if I can get to the point of not using them however, I will give it a try. In the meantime, before I get to the point of not using them, I will be very observant when purchasing them and consider the various factors. For instance in sugar purchase, I will consider a label with fair trade and buy that because they are not produced by slave laborers. For purchases like cocoa, I will find labels that clearly state that their production is ethical; a very good example is Theo. This I know will be the start to the end of the failure of markets for child labor products. It starts with one and the one, in this case, is me.


Human trafficking has been going on for quite some time now in the world. The attempts to stop it have not succeeded and people should not give up until it is fully done. People are vulnerable and sometimes they are forced to do hard tasks for their quality of life. Arthur should be educated during the discussion with the doctor and also his family and their own survival. Changing brands from child labor products is a good start to end the markets of their products. This when done, will save a child somewhere in the world.

Works Cited

Albert, Benjamin B., et al. “Fish oil supplements in New Zealand are highly oxidized and do not meet label content of n-3 PUFA.” Scientific Reports 5 (2015): 7928.

Wheaton, Elizabeth M., Edward J. Schauer, and Thomas V. Galli. “Economics of human trafficking.” International Migration 48.4 (2010): 114-141.

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