Ethical Choices Fair Trade and Freedom Store owner Leo Carpenter of Everett, Washington says, “Fair trade products are those that are certified to contain no child labor and no slave labor.” Fair Trade Certified products are proven to be manufactured using fair labor practices and fair labor wages.
People in the U.S. often don’t realize how many of today’s products are either manufactured with child labor or slave labor or contain resources that have been harvested with such labor. Some of the most common culprits are found in the apparel industry or in specialty food stuffs such as chocolate and coffee.
Some of the products carried at Ethical Choices were made by people who were rescued from human trafficking, offering them a wage that can keep them from once again falling victim to traffickers. Carpenter firmly believes that everyone can combat the crisis simply by making ethical choices, hence the name of his business.
“Our consumerism is our advocacy,” he said. Consumers can start by downloading the award-winning Free2Work app for iPhone or Android devices from the anti-trafficking organization Not For Sale. Scan the barcode of a product in the store and it shows a fair-trade rating for the company that produced it.
Carpenter, a regional director for Not For Sale, decided to start a local store where people would know they were making good buying choices that helped others. Many of the products are considered green as well because they are made from recycled goods. Carpenter is looking forward to the holiday season. He knows that customers will enjoy the sustainable gifts and holiday decorations he has in stock. But he is looking forward even more to the new year when it will become clear whether Snohomish County is willing to go that little extra to offer hope to those affected by human trafficking.
“If we don’t change their circumstance then they are as susceptible tomorrow as they were yesterday,” Carpenter said. “We’ve got to provide them with brighter sustainable futures.”
Learn more at M. L. Dehm’s Herald Business Journal article: Everett retailer helps buyers do the right thing.