Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of posts from Jabesso “Jay” Yadeto discussing and reflecting on his internship at President Lincoln’s Cottage. Read his first post here.
Just within my first two weeks of internship, I was exposed to my role in the human trafficking industry through an online interactive test called “The Slavery Footprint Survey”. This survey was very shocking as it revealed through my everyday habits how much I benefited from modern slaves. It was very surprising to see how many of the products and lifestyle consumables that we use daily have traces of slave labor in their manufacturing process. As an average African American boy – the son of two Ethiopian immigrants – I was disturbed to learn that my lifestyle choices relied on the backs of unpaid workers. This was most disturbing due to the fact that my parents came to America seeking freedom, education, and safety, all of which are deprived from forced labor workers.
With my consumer habits and lifestyle choices I have 36 slaves working for me. This number is calculated by the amount of items one indulges in that rely on the labor of slaves. This can be in any industry: food, clothing, electronics, and even beauty products. The products that were the main contributor to my slavery footprint were electronics and clothing items. I am now striving to monitor my consumption habits and doing research on which companies to avoid. However, through the internship, I am slowly learning how to educate my fellow peers on the issues of modern slavery and how to bring greater attention to it while helping to combat the issue in the community in which I live.
The Slavery Footprint Interactive activity can be found at www.slaveryfootprint.org/.
Also, see President Lincoln’s Cottage staff results for the Slavery Footprint Survey