Tag Archives: human trafficking

Hard facts about labor trafficking

When I was 15 years old, I got my first job as a lifeguard. Before I started, I had to obtain a work permit with my parents' consent and the consultation of my school. There were strict rules governing the hours between which I was allowed to work, as well as how many hours I was allowed to work per week while school was in session. All of these regulations were in place because I was a minor.

I resented them at the time. As an adolescent who longed to be treated as an adult -- and who wanted to earn my own money -- I thought the state had no business telling me when, where, or for how long I could work. It seemed deeply patronizing.

I didn't realize that labor laws in the United States are enforced to prevent workers, especially children, from being exploited. And I certainly didn't understand that in other parts of the world, where such laws either don't exist or are inadequately enforced, the effects of labor trafficking are devastating. I was a middle-class suburban kid. The notion of children, my age or younger, toiling in dirty, dangerous conditions, unable to go to school while earning little or no compensation, was foreign to me.

But it happens -- to hundreds of millions of children and adults around the world. It can tear apart families and ruin children's futures. That's why World Vision is committed to fighting it.

In recognition of World Day Against Child Labor, June 12, World Vision has released a new report, "10 Things You Need to Know About Labor Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region." Though focused particularly on Southeast Asia, the report highlights truths about exploitative labor that are relevant worldwide. How much do you know about it? Read these facts. Then, take action.


1. Men are trafficked onto fishing boats and held as prisoners. Though trafficking has historically been associated with women and children, men are equally vulnerable in Southeast Asia's fishing industry. Hard, dangerous conditions on the job create a labor shortage that leaves men at risk of being held captive at sea for months or years at a time.

When commerce and charity share a mission

Whoever said that fashion can't make a difference in our world? Surely, if people can wear their hearts on their sleeve, they can definitely wear their cause.

I recently chatted with Kevin Murray, CEO of Jedidiah, who talked about the company's unique ability to artistically connect fashion to social causes so everyone can make a measurable difference in the world. Their collections are available online and in select retailers. *World Vision is the beneficiary of Jedidiah's Spring and Summer 2011 collections.

Tell me about the humanitarian mission behind Jedidiah...

Jedidiah's mission is “to use apparel sales as a vehicle to provide care, support and financial resources to those in need." We do this by partnering with amazing NGO’s each season. Really, our model is the collision of commerce and charity. I believe that social enterprises and business models with embedded generosity have the potential to change history and effect social causes like never before.

How do you think this belief resonates with Jedidiah supporters?

I think their deepest desire is to be part of something bigger than themselves and to make a real difference. America is the most compassionate country the world has ever seen. But maybe people don’t know how to engage or be part of the compassion movement. We ask for consumers to support our apparel brand as a way of getting involved and having a voice. But for that support, we, in turn, owe them a great product, with great design, built with integrity and style. If we don’t measure up to our peers in the apparel industry than we don’t deserve to be in business. A quality product at a fair price is crucial to our growth as a company.

So how did World Vision become part of the picture?

Our family has supported World Vision sponsored children for many years. I have always thought of World Vision as one of the most productive and efficient NGO’s and have been a huge fan for a long time. I love the way World Vision starts at the individual level. The model of changing one person’s life -- that can then change a family, a community, a city and a nation -- is one I believe in with all my heart.

I also know you have a huge heart for the child trafficking cause...

I am the father of three daughters. The idea that children are bought and sold for the pleasure of others is the saddest, darkest part of humanity I have ever seen. So with World Vision, we chose to commit our Spring and Summer 2011 charitable sales to fund a trauma recovery center in Cambodia that will help hundreds of children who are rescued from this life.

Cartoon wisdom

One of my eccentric hobbies is discovering theological insights from animated cartoons. A favorite is “Road Runner.” The dastardly coyote is always devising ever-more fantastic means to capture the elusive bird, but his wicked schemes invariably and hilariously backfire, causing maximum pain and humiliation for the coyote....

Ending modern-day slavery through innovation

You’re at party—laughing with friends, having a good time. When someone comes up and tells you about the excitement going on in the other room, you follow, intrigued. You find yourself joining a group crammed into a small, crowded space. Suddenly the door slams behind you and the lights...