Responsible buying says no to slavery: You can help

lifestyle March 30, 2018 14:45

By THE NATION

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) recently invited young Thais to help change the world by taking part in their joint campaign IOM X.



A project that aims to prevent human trafficking and exploitation, IOM X has partnered with some of Thailand’s top YouTube creators in an attempt to reach 13 million young Thais and convince them to take the lead in making smart purchasing decisions that reinforce the fair treatment of workers in the manufacturing industry.

This will be achieved through stories posted on YouTube that that highlight both the good side and the bad side of the manufacturing industry.

From Bie the Ska’s drama depicting a father’s misery on the production line of a mobile phone factory, producing the very product his daughter is begging him for, VRZO’s “Happy”, an ironic look at how clothes are marketed, versus how they are made, to BILLbilly01’s animated music video highlighting the fact that there are real people making the clothes that we wear, IOM X’s “Do you know who made it?” campaign deep dives into the manufacturing industry.

Softpomz gets the inside scoop from kids on what’s fair and what’s not when it comes to work and Picnicly interviews restaurant owners working to improve the lives of their staff and suppliers.

“Here’s the truth: whenever we make a purchase, we risk supporting exploitation. But if we choose what we buy wisely, we can contribute to breaking the cycle of abuse that harms the people behind the products,” said Tara Dermott, IOM X Program Leader.

There are approximately 16.6 million people in forced labour in Asia Pacific, across a variety of industries, including manufacturing. Annual illegal profits from forced labour in Asia, including manufacturing, are an estimated US$52 billion (Bt162 billion).

Human trafficking victims in manufacturing jobs in Asia Pacific often live in substandard housing, are not paid their full salaries, and have their documents confiscated to prevent them from leaving their jobs. They may be subjected to unpaid overtime, hazardous working conditions (such as working with toxic chemicals and dangerous machinery) and are at risk of injuries resulting from repetitive motions. Not having the right protective clothing and gear can lead to serious health issues such as cancer, respiratory illnesses, dermatological problems, liver damage, hearing problems and neurological problems.

Debt bondage – the practice of forcing someone to pay off a loan by working – is a common practice used in the manufacturing industry to keep victims bound to their workplace. For example, a migrant working in the electronics manufacturing industry in Southeast Asia pays an average of $500 to $1,200 in recruitment fees; often these fees are then deducted from the worker’s salary.

Find out more at IOMX.org/tham to learn to understand where the products you buy come from, and how you can help prevent the exploitation of the people who make them.