I don’t need a single thing.
I’m practically embarrassed to admit it but after seeing this…
my perspective has changed a bit. And for the very sad record, this is not such a bad place to dwell by Ghanian standards. I mean, there IS shelter.
This is not to say that I didn’t come back to the U.S. last summer as Mother Theresa – far from it, in fact.
But I am just a little bit more aware of our excess than I was before.
I began to really understand that I am in want of nothing and yet so many in this world are in want of much.
Did you know that only 8% of the world’s population owns ONE car – let alone TWO?
Yes, we are profoundly blessed with resources and they…well, they are profoundly blessed with no hurry. A lack of smartphones? I actually found it to be refreshing – as if a weight had been lifted. And joy. And gratitude even for what they DO have which, by our standards, is very little.
Fast forward to the MOPS Convention held this past August where my sweet friend, Katrina, told me about a woman she had met in the Exhibition Hall who had started a website called “Shop To Stop Slavery.”
Katrina felt like she would be a wonderful speaker to explain our choice to serve only fair trade chocolate during our MOPS meetings – child slavery is often employed while harvesting cocoa beans and though we surely cannot limit everything at once, I believe in choosing the one thing that makes you say “no more” and stick to it – it makes a small difference but remember the story of the starfish on the beach?
Robin Rossmanith spoke to our MOPS group back in October and I was made aware of 1) my naiveity regarding the world of human trafficking and 2) how we really can make a difference to defeat this Goliath of a giant.
Did you know that roughly 27 million women and children (yes, children) are victims of the sex trade? Did you know there are “owners” of these women and children who produce upwards of $200, 000 per person each year thus making escape near impossible?
Did you know it’s not just a problem in third world countries?
Did you know human trafficking victims are very likely right in your own city?
Did you know that we as believers are called to “encourage the oppressed…”? (Isaiah 1:17, NIV – 1984)
After hearing these statistics, Robin could no longer be complacent. She began “Shop To Stop Slavery” because “… I felt there weren’t enough ways for people to fight against human trafficking – other than donating money. At the time, I was working in retail and thought maybe I could start a store that would sell products made by survivors of trafficking while educating the public about how consumerism contributes to slavery. Of course, in today’s economy beginning a bricks and mortar store is a huge risk. My husband, always recommended doing an online store, but I wasn’t sure.
Shop to Stop Slavery is the of fulfillment of years of thinking, dreaming, and planning to help every person stop human trafficking. By purchasing products that eliminate poverty, provide fair wages, and restore former slaves you are empowered to stop slavery worldwide. Shop with confidence knowing that your purchases contribute towards eradicating modern day slavery.”
So I asked Robin a few questions…
resources together to make it easier for the conscious consumer. We all have a role to play in ending slavery and exploitation. It can be as simple as what we choose to buy.
What is fair trade and what’s the benefit of shopping fair trade?
Fair trade is a principal of buying that means that everyone who produced the product was treated humanely, safely, and was paid a sustainable wage for their work. Many fair trade products are from cooperatives of people working together to have better crops and community. Many times, proceeds are used for health care and education of community members – including children. When we purchase fair trade products or ethically-sourced goods we are providing mothers, fathers, and children worldwide access to many of the things we in America and other “developed” nations take for granted.
Last month, I visited Shop to Stop and purchased a necklace and bracelet set from Delicate Fortress as a birthday present for a friend. I spent less than I had planned, it was much prettier than anything else I had seen, and it was unique – it was likely that not too many other people would be walking around sporting this combo.
Best of all, it was made by a young woman in India who had been rescued and freed from the sex trade industry.
Next week, we will focus on two other organizations in this short “Give for Good” series that are simply ideas on how to give with a conscious this holiday season.
Robin is generously offering to give one blessed reader a “Justice Pack” which includes one Ethical Holiday Shopping Guide, one Red Thread Bracelet, one “I Shop To Stop Slavery” bumper sticker, The Good News About Injustice, a book by International Justice Mission President Gary Haugen, and an Eye See Media Magazine Freedom Issue.
Please simply leave a comment below and share what you hope to give this holiday season.
The Random Generator will select a winner by Thursday night at 10 p.m. Our winner will be announced on Friday morning.
To view the Ethical Holiday Shopping Guide, see below.
To “like” Shop To Stop Slavery on Facebook, click here…
human trafficking has been on my heart this year. i am encouraged to be meeting more and more people that are stepping up and doing something about it, and that includes you, Natalie- to take the initiative and shed light on this awful crime. thank you!
Natalie, thank you for shining a light on this wonderful ministry. This is just another example of how ONE person CAN make a difference! I hopped over to look at her sight and was astounded at the beauty and affordability of these items. I’m going back to do some Christmas shopping!
I want to be able to give hope and blessings to those in need. Not just for Christmas but all through the year.
I love to shop there! I started shopping with them after I heard Robin speak at our MOPS group and have purchased several lovely jewelry items from Delicate Fortress — one of the shops linked with shoptostopslavery.com. The craftsmanship is excellent and the jewelry is beautiful. I’m happy to be making even a small difference in these women’s lives. :)
Thanks for featuring the issue of modern slavery and how Fair Trade/ethical sourced goods can help end it! Robin was a catalyst for me to switch to Fair Trade products where possible and begin sharing with others how our shopping choices affect others. This Christmas, we’re giving only Fair Trade chocolate, using Fair Trade coffee, and baking with Fair Trade cocoa and sugar. The Ethical Holiday Shopping Guide online has led to several purchases for Christmas gifts for our family. It’s exciting to see others choose Fair Trade when they hear about the injustices around us and how we can help end them! The adults in my family have also decided to give money to charity rather than material gifts to each other and it’s actually been a lot of fun to choose which charity we’ll give to (ducks via World Vision? freeing slaves via International Justice Mission? helping orphans via World Ophans?)!
It’s my hope that I can give the gift of “Wonder”. Not being hesitate to talk about the “wonder” of Christmas while at family gatherings, gift exchanges, etc. It just blows me away how when God created the earth He not only knew when we were going to be born but He knew when His son Jesus was going to be born. The time, the day, the place…everything….wonder…
I am not in MOPS this year, but I was able to follow the conversations of various MOPS friends after Robin came and spoke. I wish I could have been there! But even hearing 2nd hand has made me more concious of what I purchase. It can be sticker shock if you try to all at once, but little changes at a time can make a difference.
Crud. We didn’t get home until 10:00 last night. :(
Turns out my sense of time is a bit off, and today is actually Thursday. Hehe.
My heart certainly burns for the need for justice all over the world. This Christmas, I hope to give awareness…truth and grace.
I had not heard of the Shop to Stop Slavery Store before. This is so awesome. I have read a lot of different articles about human trafficking, some with very sad stories. We are so blessed!!! I hope to remind people about the reason for Christmas. I’ve made Cany Canes with the Candy Cane story about Jesus that I’ve been handing out and I’ve made boxes of blessings for gifts. You put 100 scriptures each folded up in the box for the person to pull out and read each day or once a week and then I give another box with pen and paper for the person to put a blessing (something they are thankful for each day). Some people read them all out at Thanksgiving or read a few when they have had a bad day. My son and I also sent Christmas Cards to the troops at the end of November (Operation Christmas Card) and did a box for Operation Christmas Child. I’m a single mother on a teacher assistants salary so I don’t have a lot of money right now, but I try to set an example to my son and teach him to be a giver and not always a taker.Thank you for this post. Have a Merry Christmas!!!