Second smoke or Second hand?

Well, today I decided to go shopping for some clothes. Which can always be an up and down.

The up- Goodwill

The down- lot’s and lot’s of clothes that I like are supportive of using slave labor to get there job done.

‘why does this matter’? You might ask.

After all, it’s a thrift store, so technically my money isn’t go toward that company right?

Well, let me ask you a question.

Let’s say you and your family are out for dinner.  And you decide to sit outside. After all, it’s a beautiful day and why not enjoy it, right? Well as you and your family are enjoying your dinner, a couple decides to sit at the table next to you. They’re friendly, and having good conversation just as your family is, but the lady at this table decides to smoke a cigarette.

You seem a tad bit annoyed, seeing as how you do have small children around, but you figure one smoke isn’t going to kill them right?

As the night continues, the lady at the table next to you has not only had one smoke but is now on her sixth cigarette.

By now your little boy starts to cough slightly, and is beginning to complain that his throat is starting to itch. Aware of this, you think to yourself, ‘Surely if I ask this woman to stop smoking for curtsy of my son, she’ll respect my wishes.’

You kindly go over to the woman and gently proceed to tell her that the smoke from the cigarette she is inhaling is starting to bother your son, and then you continue to ask her if she wouldn’t mind kindly stepping back on the smoking until you and your family are done.

The answer that the woman gives is shocking and greatly offends you.

She responds with,’ well it’s not like he’s inhaling it himself lady. why don’t you and your family just hurry up with your meal and then you can leave quicker. I shouldn’t have to give up my right and stop enjoying my dinner and night out just because your son is sheltered and can’t handle a little bit of air.’

Appalled by this response, you quietly go over to your table and ask your husband if you and your family can leave within five minutes. By now your night is ruined and all you want to do is go home and wash the smoke smell out of your sons hair.

If you can picture this, and somewhat understand this scenario, then hopefully you can understand where I’m going with this.

Even though the child did not hold the cigarette himself, or even go to the store and purchase it, he was still affected from second hand smoke.

Just as that little boy was affected so we can be affected as well when it comes to second hand shopping.

The choices we make in the products we choose to support (labels) help tell a story. What that story is depends on you.

For example, the “employes” that work at the factories that run the Faded Glory, Forever 21 or work in the coco fields that Hershey get’s their coco from, arn’t thinking about the friend that’s going to give you the clothing that they’re working on, the deal that you’re going to be getting from Goodwill or the great bonfire experience that you’ll be receiving as you bite into your smore.

No, quite on the contrary.

They will more than likely be thinking of how they will not be done with work until their 16 hour shift is done.

They will be thinking of how each and every thread design that they make for the pattern that’s going to be used on the shirt that you will be wearing is causing continuous blisters and scaring on their hands and fingers.

They will thinking about how for some, if they do not meet their quota for the day, will be beaten, starved, sleep deprived and for some even raped.

That is what they will be thinking.

You see the “workers” don’t make the bar-code that hangs off of the shirt that you purchase, or the stands on the back of the wrapper that you eat the product of.

The “workers” in this situation are the bar-code.

Just as the little boy wasn’t the smoker, he was being affected by it just the same. And his family was as well with their evening going in a different direction than they had hope on.

To wrap things up though and end on a lighter note 🙂 I did end up finding some very cute clothes, after all I do have a passion for fashion and uniqueness, but the most rewarding aspect of my shopping experience wasn’t in the cute clothes that I found.

Nope, the most rewarding part to my time was knowing that when my card was being swiped for payment that I was standing up for bar-codes all around the world. And thus saying to those businesses through morals and integrity, that you may stand for yourself and what can better your business at any cost, but I will choose to stand for what will shape the lives that work under your business, no matter what the co$t.

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New Eyes

Hello everyone!

My name is Brianna. I am a 27 year old spunky Italian lady with a fashion obsession for anything cute, a palette for good food and a heart for justice in all forms of life.

You may be wondering how this all plays together. And you know what? That’s a really good freak in question. So to make matters simpler I’ll back track it a little for you. 

Ready?

For starters I suppose I’d better clarify a word that you will become quite familiar with if you still choose to have pitty on me and continue to read my blog.

The word is, ‘Human Trafficking”.

For some of you, this is not a new word, for others you probably have no clue as to what I’m talking about, so let me clarify the definition of, ‘Human Trafficking’.

Human Trafficking, according to the, ‘Not for Sale’, web-sight, Trafficking of Victims Protection Act and the U.N. Trafficking Protocol is summed up into three components.

1. The action of trafficking; which means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons.

2. The means of trafficking; which includes threat of or use of force, deception, coercion, abuse of power or position of vulnerability.

3, The purpose of trafficking; which is always exploitation. In the words of the Trafficking Protocol, article 3 “exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Sounds great right? I mean isn’t that all what we want to stand for?

What?! Awkward silence?

That’s what I thought.

Now that we all know/are familiarized with the term Human Trafficking you might be thinking to yourself, ‘Brianna now hold on. I’m a person who treats others well, serves my fellow man and supports my fellow troops, not trafficking’.

And to that I say well done good and faithful person, but here are some questions I want you to ask yourself.

Have you recently eaten one out of  three of these brands of food?

– Hershey’s

– Pop- Secret Popcorn

– Mc Cormick ( this one you would use in the purpose of eating, just to clarify)

Secondly, have you purchased clothing from one or more of these brands?

– Sketchers

– Faded Glory

– Calvin Klein

and for my chica’s out there,

– Forever 21

Thirdly, this is for all you hard working parents out there who love to spoil their children with fun little do dads, and rightfully so.

Have you recently bough-ten your child a toy from one or more of these company’s?

– Barbie

– Fisher- Price

– Leapster

If you answered yes to any of these questions then guess what? You are currently supporting Human Trafficking.

But how?

It’s ok, I know you might be shocked and a little confused, and so I”m going to answer this question to the best of my ability.

First you need to understand something.

The global slave trade is complex, and product supply chains make it difficult for even the most informed consumers to know how their purchases are connected to labor abuses.

However, today brands are more aware of potential issues within their supply chains.  Many work with a wide range of initiatives such as monitoring and certification programs to attempt to assure consumers that their products do not violate worker rights.  The lack of approaches is extremely confusing for busy consumers (you) who seek an answer to the simple question, what is the story behind my products?

Luckily, for you there is an organization named, ‘Not for Sale’, that has come up with a tactic call, ‘Free to Work’. And what happens with this is the story behind the bar-code is broken down through a series of 60+ questions that the organization will then send out to each company and have them fill it out three times.

These questions generally include the focus on the brand’s labor policies and practices. Thus of which are divided into four categories.

1. Policies

2. Transparency & Traceability

3. Monitoring & Training

4. Worker Rights

As each business answers these categories, they are then evaluated with the companies next to each other so that the team at Not for Sale can understand the different risks in which they operate.

For example, the amount of child and forced labor is much greater in certain countries and production processes than in others, so Free2Work grades those companies operating in “high risk” situations on a stricter scale than those operating in “low risk” areas. 

To make matter’s more simple for you I have chosen to copy and paste an example from the not4sale web sight that I think will help make this much easier for you.

‘For example, in the jewelry industry, forced and child labor has been found in gold mining in Burkina Faso. Free2Work thus considers sourcing gold from Burkina Faso to be a “high risk” activity, which means that serious precautions need to be taken in production to ensure against trafficking. On the other hand, neither child nor forced labor is prevalent in Canadian gold mining operations, and Canadian rule of law is relatively strong on trafficking.  Free2Work consequently considers sourcing gold from Canada to be “low risk.”

Get it?

Afterwards they then draw data from other expert reports and relevant news articles.

But Brianna, how do you know which ones are the worst to purchase from and which one’s are pretty descent?

Well, they finalize everything, and split it into three categories of final judging.

1. High Risk

-One or more of the top five countries from which the company sources is on the DOL List; or

-The company does not disclose its top five countries of production; or

-An independent party has made credible allegations of abuse

2. Medium Risk-

-Zero of the top five countries from which the company sources are on the DOL List; but

-Not all of the top five countries from which the company sources are listed as “Tier 1” on the TiP Report

3. Low Risk-

– Zero of the top five countries from which the company sources are on the DOL List; and

– All of the top five countries from which the company sources are listed as “Tier 1” on the TiP Report

When everything is then said and done, they then grade them. Yup that’s right they grade it. Like A, B, C, D and the dreaded F.

Low Risk score between C to A+

Medium Risk score between D- to A+

High Risk score between F+ to A+

The reason why each is given to at least an A+ is because each is given a chance to improve themselves and by which I certainly hope they do.

See the goal isn’t to boy cot, every store that isn’t an A+, because that is going to get us no where but another Boston Tea party. The purpose is to send a message to these businesses, that for me for example says unless you bring your grade higher than a C, I’m not going to purchase from you. Because in all honesty from what you’ve just read, anything lower than a C isn’t really even trying.

The purpose for this blog isn’t to inflict guilt or condemnation on you unless you already know about some of this information and are yet continuing to remain ignorant, then I yes you should feel bad and be smacked on the head with a pink glittered baseball bat in which leaves a trace of glitter on you for eternity. Just saying.

Though for those who are very new to this, now you know.

It is now up to you to figure out what you are going to do with the information that you now know of.

In this I would love to help. The purpose of Stop, Think, Shop is for you to write me questions on brands that you are curious of in regards to what their grade is, and so on.

For starters you could go to the not4sale web sight and check out some of them yourself. Or if you are too busy, you can always e mail me though blog and I would be happy to help, even with stuff that isn’t in free2work.

I hope that you have found this information helpful and as eye opening as I have.

Have a great rest of your week, as I leave you with the words of the famous abolitionist William Wilberforce.

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

William Wilberforce