For the past 15 years, the US State Department has released the Trafficking in Persons or TIP Report. Secretary of State John Kerry begins this years report challenging all of us to not be resigned, but to engage in the process to end human trafficking.
Kerry writes, "If there is a single theme to this year’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, it is the conviction that there is nothing inevitable about trafficking in human beings. That conviction is where the process of change really begins—with the realization that just because a certain abuse has taken place in the past doesn’t mean that we have to tolerate that abuse in the future or that we can afford to avert our eyes."
In last years report, Kerry wisely articulates that, "Eliminating this global scourge requires a global solution. It also cannot be solved by governments alone. The private sector, academic institutions, civil society, the legal community, and consumers can all help to address the factors that allow human trafficking to flourish." (emphasis mine)
It is easy to feel resigned and powerless against this 'global scourge' yet there are clear steps each of us can take in our personal and professional* lives to see a traffic-free world be our reality.
Going out of our way to use ethically sourced products in our homes, businesses and community spaces is one of the important first steps all of us can take to confront human trafficking.
It's actually pretty incredible how much power we have as consumers in the US. In an article last year, JP Bilbrey, Hershey’s chief executive, tells the Guardian: “Capitalism is a wonderful thing. If you demand something, those that supply it to you will provide that particular product.” There are a lot of questions and a lot of work that needs to be done to develop sustainable and ethical supply chains, however it is clear that what we ask for as consumers impacts the products companies offer. Let's keep learning together as conscious consumers and let's keep demanding traffic-free products!
When it comes to coffee, we can help. If you, your business, place of worship or community group are not already using traffic-free coffee, please check out our Freedom Builder program at http://www.thefreedomcafe.org/drink-coffee-end-trafficking/. Contact Bryan directly to discuss rates for larger quantities.
*[Please reach out to us to discuss resources and training for your professional setting.]