With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, stores are stocked full with bouquets of flowers, jewelry, and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate.
When thinking about surprising your loved ones with gifts, do you consider the farmers, producers, and artisans who are responsible for harvesting the minerals in those beautiful earrings, growing the cocoa that is made into mouth-watering chocolate bars, and growing the perfect red roses?
Unfortunately, the industries responsible for these Valentine’s Day gifts are some of the worst when it comes to labor exploitation and human trafficking.
Luckily, there’s a way to ensure that the products you buy are not connected to labor trafficking: Fair Trade. What is Fair Trade? Fair Trade is a social movement and certifying system that seeks to help producers in developing countries obtain better trading standards. Fair Trade products support sustainable livelihoods that empower people and communities behind the products. The certification guarantees that the product was made in systems free of child and forced labor.
That’s why the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s End Trafficking project has partnered with Fair Trade Campaigns to help consumers show support and gratitude to the laborers across the world who are responsible for these gifts we love. By sending a “virtual Valentine”, you can thank producers in developing countries for helping you make that certain someone in your life feel extra special.
Last week the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s End Trafficking project hosted a Google+ Hangout to raise awareness about the “Share the Love” Valentine’s Day campaign. Experts from Fair Trade Campaigns, One World Flowers, and Sweet Riot Chocolate joined us to speak about the work that their organizations are doing to promote Fair Trade. They also shared stories about the cooperatives and farmers who will receive the Valentine’s Day cards, highlighting the impact that Fair Trade has had on farmer’s lives.
By supporting Fair Trade, you are creating a positive demand for ethical products and fair labor, which counters the demand for cheap labor and cheap goods that drives labor trafficking.
Buying Fair Trade means voting with your dollar, and showing companies that you care about the people behind the products they sell.
This year, join us in reclaiming Valentine’s Day by sending a card that truly gives back, and buying Fair Trade.
Not only will you be supporting producers in developing countries and helping combat human trafficking, but you will be giving your sweetheart a meaningful gift that truly shares the love.