The NE Ohio agency urged holiday shoppers to buy goods without forced labor
ROCKY RIVER, Ohio — Colleen Cannon, manager of One World Shop in Rocky River, hopes shoppers will pay more attention to the labor used to make the goods and services they purchase this holiday season.
Cannon urges local consumers to look for the “Fair Trade” label on items they consider purchasing, to ensure that goods and services do not use forced labor, a form of human trafficking.
Cannon told News 5 that she hopes more consumers will seek out fair trade outlets, like One World Shop, which is a non-profit store that sells goods made by artisans from 30 countries around the world. Cannon said all items in the store were made without forced labor exploitation.
“We sell products from Cambodia, we have people in Ethiopia, the Philippines, India,” Cannon said. “Any product we get goes directly back into ordering more product to bring into the store.
“We have education programs where we talk to schools and educate them about fair trade, we go to churches and explain what fair trade means,” Cannon added. “We need to end forced labor, we need to end it, and we have opportunities on how to do that.”
Kirsti Mouncey, president and CEO of the Northeast Ohio Collaborative to End Human Trafficking, told News 5 US National Human Trafficking Hotline data indicates that Ohio is in the top 10 when it comes to the growing problem of forced labor. Mouncey said data shows more forced labor survivors are being recruited online, an issue plaguing some key business sectors in northeast Ohio.
“It’s happening in our community, it’s a very under-recognized crime,” Mouncey said. “Human trafficking is the exploitation of human beings for profit. You see it in the agriculture industry, we see it in the hospitality industry, we see it in the restaurant industry, we see it in nail salons.Consumers should pay attention to where this product is made, how this product gets to your store, how it gets to your home.
Mouncey believes the largest national outlets must be part of the solution to reduce the problem of forced labor that leaves millions of workers facing an unsafe work environment and unfair wages.
“We want them to look at their supply chains, we want them to look at where their workforce is coming from, and we want them to make adjustments if they find it’s part of their business. “, said Mouncey. “So it’s small changes that we can all make that can have a huge impact.
Mouncey pointed out the NE Ohio Collaboration to End Human Trafficking Webpage for more information and resources on the issue of forced labour. Mouncey also urged consumers to report allegations of human trafficking and forced labor to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
Mouncey sent News 5 information about some of the local retailers that sell fair trade products without labor trafficking:
- Joyce’s Boutique and Hair Salon, Sorrow Falls, Ohio. Sells jewelry, bags, accessories and other products that support fair trade practices.
- A global store, Rocky River, Ohio. Sells handicrafts from 65 different countries.
- Revy, Cleveland, Ohio. Sells artisan products in El Salvador.
- Schema, Ohio. Sells all-natural fair trade shea butter products.
- Warehouse tea, Cleveland, Ohio Sells Fair Trade teas produced by people who receive a fair price for their products.
- Son Esperanza, Cleveland, Ohio. Train the unemployed and underemployed to get jobs in Cleveland’s garment industry; pays a fair wage for his work.