How to Reduce the Slavery Footprint of Your Consumer Goods

By Maryclaire Manard

Let’s get informed about an ugly truth: It’s a pretty sobering fact that there are more slaves today than at any other point in history. Probably even more ick-inducing to know that much of our consumer behavior drives the demand for these oppressive systems. While individual consumers can’t be expected to be accountable for entire systems, we can be the sparks that light the way for change. Fortunately, we have some tips on how you can look to minimize your part in this and encourage better alternatives that prioritize transparency, equality, and freedom.

The Ugly Truth

There are more slaves today than at any other point in history.

  • 40 million human beings are bought and sold in a $150 billion/year industry.
  • This modern day slavery takes the form of forced labor, child labor, or forced marriages.
  • Women and girls make up 71% of this group, and children make up 25%
  • Modern day slavery can be found in a lot of the products we buy as consumers, from our makeup to our clothes to our electronics, to even our food.
  • Source: The Guardian

Help Break the Cycle

Step 1: Measure your current slavery footprint.

Set aside 3 minutes to take the slavery footprint quiz at and answer questions like what’s in your closet, what your diet consists of, and more to discover how many slaves may be behind some of your consumer decisions.

Pro-tip: It’s easiest to take this quiz on a desktop vs. a mobile device

Step 2: Buy from companies that have transparent supply chains and work to remove any human rights violations.

You can use Cluey to identify companies with better “People Impact Scores” — This score (on an A-F scale) is aggregated from third-party sources that track human rights violations, such as forced labor, in a company’s supply chain.

Pro-tip: Also look for labels like “fair trade” when shopping.

Step 3: Engage in additional action steps like buying survivor-made goods or petitioning brands to make changes.

Check out additional resources on how you can do more:

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