This past Friday we had a chance to set up a pop-up shop at The Slave Next Door event hosted by Project Peace. This event specifically highlighted the issue of modern day slavery in our own backyard. We were really floored when we heard the story of Minh Danh. She was sold for sex by her own parents right here in San Jose, California. We first heard about Minh’s story on Dateline NBC, but to hear her speak, opened our eyes wider. She was eloquent and dynamic, and spoke not as a victim, but an advocate. The speaker that came up after her, Kevin Bales, of Free the Slaves, said that it was equivalent to meeting Harriet Tubman or Frederick Douglass, slaves that freed other slaves. It was a historic moment for us all to witness.
One large takeaway from Dr. Bales was that human slavery goes hand-in hand with ecocide. People that exploit people also exploit the land alongside of them. His solution to this massive problem was to stop our need for excessive consumption. He said that if everyone were to consume the way U.S. citizens consume it would take up 5 earths. Seriously eye opening.
The other component of the event was a fair-trade bazaar that featured many different organizations that sourced fair-trade products from around the world. We were happy to be across the way from our friend, Fay Johnson at Slavery Footprint. They have an amazing site that helps you calculate how many slaves work for you according to the items that you own. I soberly calculated 51 with all of my goods. I highly encourage everyone to take this survey as it’s an amazing and beautiful site, but also helps us to personally take action in our corner of the world.