Made in A Free World
By : Cynthia La Grou
Made In A Free World is an anti-slavery organization that is changing the marketplace into a force for good. The organization was founded by artist, musician and filmmaker, Justin Dillon, who originally became involved in the anti-slavery movement by hosting benefit rock concerts. Justin channeled his passion and creative energies into directing the human-trafficking "rockumentary" (desktop link) (mobile link) "CALL and RESPONSE". (Full disclosure, CALL and RESPONSE was one of the first social impact films that inspired the Compathos mission.) Justin's journey has evolved from visionary artist to social tech entrepreneur having recently launched FRDM - an App that helps you steer clear of products that perpetuate human trafficking.

Modern-day slavery, involving some 30 million people worldwide, is found in an increasingly complex system that produces much of the clothing products sold in the U.S. Abercrombie & Fitch, Carter's, Forever 21, Quiksilver, and Walmart are among the brands fueling modern-day slavery through negligence, according to a report from Not for Sale, a California-based nonprofit also working to abolish international human trafficking and forced labor.

The U.S State Department saw the film CALL and RESPONSE and approached Justin for his help in developing a narrative that would allow individuals to understand their connection to modern-day slavery. From that conversation, Slavery Footprint was born. Since 2011, Slavery Footprint's multi-award winning website has engaged over 1.7 million people by shedding light on the issue of modern-day slavery simply by asking a single question: "How Many Slaves Work For You?"

Most consumers are unaware that many of the products they use are not ethically sourced with people or planet in mind - nor are they aware that social and environmentally responsible alternatives exist. We've only heard the glitzy marketing side of the story which glamorizes products without knowing what is really going on behind the scenes. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez says there's a story behind each of the items, "a child facing back-breaking labor without education or other opportunities for a better life or an adult trapped in a dismal job through deceit or threats." Cheap goods and goods designed for obsolescence usually come at a much higher price than we could ever imagine. This is the story we need to hear.

Thanks to initiatives like Made in a Free World - change is on the horizon. Entrepreneurs like Justin are working to solve pervasive global problems such as slavery and environmental degradation caused by irresponsible mass production and over-consumption. Slavery Footprint personalizes the issue of modern slavery by engaging with individuals and businesses to build awareness and create deployable action against forced labor, human trafficking, and modern-day slavery. They provide consumers with an opportunity to have a deeper conversation with the companies that manufacture the goods they purchase and use in their daily lives. The collective goal makes sense: use the free market to free people not enslave them.

Socially responsible businesses need support in their attempt to heal the deep wounds caused by environmental extraction and human exploitation, both which are becoming common hidden themes in our overly consumptive culture. Made In A Free World field projects include Safe Villages in India, which provides solutions to ending slavery and child labor in the cosmetic industry. Did you know that slavery is embedded in the cosmetics industry, which generates an estimated $426 billion annually, with $54 billion in the U.S.?

Most women wearing makeup are unaware of the forced child labor behind the products they use on a daily basis. Mica is one of the most commonly found ingredients in cosmetics. 60% of the world's mica comes from India where children are forced to work in dangerous and illegal mines (approximately 20,000 children forced to work in Jharkhand's mica mines). In order to protect these children MIFW is setting up 5 Safe Villages with the goal of shutting down these illegal markets and bringing freedom and education to children working in the cosmetic industry.

Made in a Free World's innovative App - FRDM puts the tools to take a stand directly into your hands as a consumer. The App lets you track slavery in a products supply chain and lets you voice your demand for things made without slave labor - driving needed conversation between you and the producers. As an awakened consumer, you can change the marketplace and change the world for good.

VISIT MADE IN A FREE WORLD / HOLIDAY to discover gifts that are sending freedom, not slavery, into the world. You can start by purchasing from 9 Made In A Free World companies (check out our friends at Senda Athletics) who are doing good in the world by eliminating slavery from their supply chain.
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