By Abigail Loop
International Justice Mission is aiming to improve lives across the world by encouraging people to buy fair trade products.
An event hosted by International Justice Mission in the World Cup Cafe on Tuesday was meant to give students an understanding of fair trade and what goes on behind the making of products used in everyday life.
Students who arrived at the event were led to the back of the café where a fair trade shop is located. Filled with jewelry, pillows and bags from across the world, the shop uses fair trade to reimburse the artisans who were responsible for bringing these products to life.
Kathy Allison, a volunteer from Mission Waco, then spoke to students at the event about the importance of fair trade and how buying a fair trade product can help someone on the other side of the world.
“Everything in this store is fair trade, which means the artisan gets paid for it,” Allison said. “There are so many products that use slavery and child labor. You should be informed of the changes that need to happen to better these lives.”
Allison said the demand for products and the outbreak of poverty are what cause human trafficking and prevent fair trade from happening and that these are the things that need to change.
Allison also explained that big coffee, chocolate and clothing companies do not use fair trade but use human trafficking as a way to get their product out.
“I think it’s commendable that your generation is trying to stop human trafficking,” Allison said. “I can’t imagine the anguish of a parent who has to sell their child to be exploited just because they live in poverty.”
Harlan, Iowa, junior Ellen Klitgaard, president of International Justice Mission at Baylor, said becoming aware of fair trade and human trafficking was the main reasons International Justice Mission wanted to have this event.
“We did this to inform new and old members of International Justice Mission that fair trade can affect human trafficking,” Klitgaard said. “It’s good to know how it is affecting slavery in the world today. Also, fair trade is a good way for college students to make a difference. We can help just by buying these products. ”
Atlanta, Ga., senior Sarah Mathis, vice president of International Justice Mission at Baylor, said by knowing about fair trade, it can help to save lives.
“Buy buying these free trade products, we can bring awareness to popular companies who are using slavery and to people in the community,” Mathis said. “By having that certified stamp that the product was made fairly, it could really help.”
As the event ended, Allison told student to start making a difference and taking part in fair trade.
“I encourage you guys to be the change,” Allison said.
Houston freshman Ann Vondrak said she wants to make this change.
“I want to tell all of my friends about this,” Vondrak said. “No one should be enslaved. This definitely makes me want to be more driven and think hard about fair trade instead of buying popular products.”