What is Fair Trade and Why You Should Care

What is Fair Trade and Why You Should Care


Written by Marielle Ondik

Fair Trade is a certification that means a product is slave-free, child labor-free and exploitation-free. As an anti-human trafficking non-profit, we encourage people to be conscious consumers, and avoid purchasing products made by exploited people whenever possible. The problem is that many times there is no way to know the circumstances under which a particular product is made.

When a product is certified Fair Trade, you know that you are purchasing an item that didn’t contribute to exploitation.


Top Companies that use slave labor


In 2009, several former child slaves sued because they were trafficked and forced to work on Nestle farms in Cote d’Iviore. In 2016, the Fair Labor Association executed an assessment of Nestle. They claimed that 70 percent of Nestle farms were not trained on the prohibition of forced labor.



In 1992, activist Jeff Ballinger published an expose in Harpers that revealed the story of a child in Indonesia working in disgusting conditions, and for a mere 14 cents per hour. In 2016, only 86 percent of their factories were up to the minimum standards they set.



They only have two fair trade coffees available for purchase. The company deprive Ethiopian coffee growers of $90 million every year. Starbucks lists coffees from countries such as Guatemala, Kenya, Costa Rico and Panama, but none of them are fair trade certified. They are all regions known to use child labor.



A 2016 reports stated that 31 out of 72 H&M suppliers were using illegal contracts. They allowed for wrongful termination. Workers are working in sweatshop conditions, with no breaks and unsanitary environments.



This company refused to sign the 2013 accord on fire and building safety in Bangladesh that 200 companies signed following the collapse of Rana Plaza. Fourteen factories in Cambodia were studied, and they all violated local overtime laws consistently, with some forcing 14-hour work days without overtime pay.

How You Can Help


First things first, shop fair trade. Look in your local grocery store and look for products that have a fair-trade certified sticker on them. Products available in local Pitt County grocery stores include chocolate, sugar, tea, cereal, agave, toaster pastries, and more.

What stores carry fair trade?


Fair trade products?

Our website has tons of fair-trade items that you can purchase!



You can start a fair-trade campaign in your community or at your school. Showcase some products and educate the public on what fair trade is. If they like the idea enough, then you can suggest having them sell fair trade products rather than what they usually sell.


Educate yourself on the matter. There is so much information on the internet and you can learn all about fair trade in the matter of minutes. What you do can make a difference and what you say will be heard.

Benefits of Fair Trade

Fair trade allows small-scale farmers and workers to receive fair pay for the work they do. It can better provide more for their families, send their children to school, and avoid the vicious cycle of trafficking and exploitation.

The Fairtrade Standards encourage long term relationships and fairer contracts for farmers and require employers to protect the basic rights of the people they employ. This includes making sure they are working in decent conditions, allowing collective bargaining, and preventing discrimination

Fair trade certification/premium

In addition to the purchase price of products, a Fairtrade Premium is added, which goes into a communal fund for workers and farmers, to use as they see fit, to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions. These premiums are invested into education, healthcare, business development and other services that can allow families to have access to better programs to better their life.

With these services and programs more accessible to those who need it, it will prevent children from having to go to work to additionally provide for their family. There are cases where traffickers will seek out the must vulnerable, which are usually children, and offer them a job. The child will think it’s a good opportunity to help their family and usually accept it. Then begins the exploitation, which appears in the form of debt bondage, threats and other forms of coercion.

ENC Stop Human Trafficking encourages the purchase and support of fair trade certified products because with that certification comes the guarantee that the products being made do not contribute to exploitation of vulnerable people around the world. It is also a means for farmers, artisans and other producers of fair trade items to maintain a sustainable, environmentally-friendly means of survival, which ends the perpetuation of exploitation and builds up entire communities worldwide.

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