By Ashlie Bailey
Another way that the fashion industry fuels human trafficking is by using slave labor to manufacturer clothing jewelry and accessories. Through the demand for slave made textiles, sweatshops, and the demand for slave mined diamonds, gemstones, and gold; the Fashion Industry also is one of the worlds largest contributors to the problem of labor trafficking and its no secret.
In fact, the majority of all clothing items for sale in retail stores in the United States are made from slave labor. In places like Bangladesh and China, women are locked in dangerous factories or are chained to sewing machines for more than sixteen hours a day for pennies a day if they even get paid anything at all. In the textile making process, women are forced to dip their arms into metal barrels filled with toxic fabric dyes. Their skin becomes permanently stained with the toxic chemicals. The textile industry isn’t just bad for women, it is bad for animals and the environment. The toxic chemicals from textile making end up poisoning the environment. In the leather industry, countless animals are inhumanly tortured and killed. In the silk industry, millions of caterpillars are boiled while they are still alive to harvest their silk.
In the gold and diamond industry slaves, miners are killed because of the dangerous conditions just so that a piece of jewelry can be made. This is why I am passionate about the gradual positive change that the growing popularity of fair trade merchandise is having on reducing the demand for the supply of slave made products in the fashion industry. This is also one of the reasons why I enjoy finding ethically made supplies for my art and jewelry crafting. It is one small way I can make a difference in the world and fashion industry.
To view more of my handcrafted, survivor made art and jewelry go to my Beauty for Ashes Designs> page.