Most consumers today would immediately come to the conclusion that slavery does not affect their life in any way, shape or form. The life of a consumerist is so convenient that there are no second thoughts on where all our products originally come from which makes the word slavery very much distant. The truth of the matter is that there are approximately twenty seven million slaves in the world and slaves have made it possible for much convenience to be delivered to our own very hands. The raw materials of most products used in markets are tracked all the way back to the fields and the mines where slavery is taken place. According to slaveryfootprint.org, it takes approximately twenty nine slaves to support my lifestyle. Unfortunately, capitalism has brought out the worst of humanity in to the products consumerists buy which is for the purpose to maximize profit and minimize production costs; therefore, slavery makes it convenient for companies and brands to use cheap raw materials for products. Although I was not too surprised by the survey, the survey took me into a state of skepticism of how the car I own or the food I eat comes from slaves.
The majority of my slave count was from the car I drive and the food I eat. Since I live in the greater area of Los Angeles, not having access to a car would be, unfortunately, highly inconvenient. The social class that separates me from a slave is so huge that it’s ridiculous. I have researched on how slaves take part in building the car I own. According to a website called howstuffworks.com, the top five materials used in auto manufacturing are: steel, aluminum, plastic, glass, and rubber. The top five materials are basically raw materials where forced laborers, ranging from Asia to Africa, work in the fields and mines to retrieve the raw materials. Most slaves tend to be located in China and Russia where many slaves can mine. Slaves in Asia tend to be very poor and have very low income. They work and hope that their children can be successful by attending a prestigious college which is very expensive and competitive. What has done to stop this abusive and harsh treatment is minimal although activists are working for a policy change for better working environment and pay. The second majority of my slave count came from the food I ate. According the website slaveryfootprint.org, a child named Ebenezer, a child who works about seventeen hours per day, fishes on Lake Volta in Ghana where he spends his time diving underwater to unhook heavy fishing nets. He is one of thousands of children who have been sold into slavery and he, unfortunately, receives minimal food and no pay. As a heavy eater of seafood, most of the fish I eat are caught by slaves. Especially in the United States, food is high in demand and considering how many people there are in the United States, it is very hard to imagine how many slaves are working so that those that are well off can eat well. Unfortunately, food is one of the biggest supply chains and not much has been done to stop them since they are hidden under the radar.
Although I could not find an alternative product that I could use to reduce harms associated with the products I use, my behavior towards the products I use can change, by starting off with baby steps, by being grateful of what I have. I could have easily been born as a slave, but instead I am born in to a family with financial stability. Instead of road raging, I can be grateful that I even have a motor vehicle to conveniently move place to place. Instead of eating my heart out, which is not healthy, I should be thankful for the food that took hard work from suffering slaves for me to eat. Unfortunately, slavery will always exist because of our own human nature that distorts kindness in our hearts. It always has been about money and power where slavery is conveniently placed in that category. Just like a virus, slavery can never be killed because it will always mutate into something different.
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