My Dad has a nickname for me: Shortcake. Apparently I had a thing for Strawberry Shortcake when I was a wee tot, and all her gang. For those of you who know the characters, the Blueberry Pie-Man was not such a nice guy. In fact he was constantly devising ways to foil Strawberry and her friends' fun and innocence.
Much like today… children are being used in the US and Canada in the agri-business sector illegally. They are not allowed to work in factories anymore (but don't lose sight of those sweat shops), yet out in the fields there are still young lives being ruined by those people cutting corners, saving a buck or two, and even sexually exploiting minors.
Wal-Mart came face to face with this when children were found to be working the blueberry fields of one its suppliers.
5 year old Suli was discovered in the Adkin fields carrying more than her weight in berries. Only one of many children being forced to work by their enslaved parents or bought outright by plantations owners.
Five-year old girl Suli is seen lugging two heavy buckets of blueberries picked by her parents and brothers, aged seven and eight, in the fields of the Adkin Blue Ribbon Packing Company in South Haven, Michigan. (ABC News)
Now let's be honest: Wal-Mart gives you the best prices, but they come at a very high cost. Wal-Mart is a corporate evil in the eyes of abolitionists. It's the largest corporation in the world today and slavery can be found in countless numbers of its suppliers, out-sourcings and stores. Having said that, we want this big giant at the table when talking the re-abolishment of slavery. To their credit, it would appear that they are listening… at least in this instance.
But that's my rant on Wal-Mart. It's one of the few stores I truly boycott at all costs.
The scary crux of the matter is this: children are enslaved in OUR country TODAY. I cannot make it any clearer than that.
Take the time.
Research your favourite stores.
Buy Fair Trade.
Be suspect always of "Made in Canada" or "Made in the USA" unless the company has made their business practices so transparent that you already know they can offer you a slave-free guarantee.
No more "does slavery happen here"?
Be enraged. We stand for freedom and democracy. And we shut our eyes to slaves.
Be encouraged — filled with couraged. Suli does not have to live that life.
We can be the change.