The Average Hipster Employs 27 Slaves Each Day. Here's How To Change That

04/29/2015 05:24 pm ET | Updated Dec 29, 2015

Updated on May 7, 2015; 12:30 p.m. EST.

Hipsters may value social progress, but their coffee habits say otherwise.

That's according to the team at Made in a Free World (MIAFW), a group dedicated to raising awareness on how consumers support illegal slave operations -- often without realizing it -- with their purchasing power.

According to a statement provided to The Huffington Post, MIAFW looked at stereotypical purchases made by those associated with the subculture -- things like cotton for clothing, coffee beans and tantalum for cell phones -- and estimated that the average hipster employs 27 slaves a day through their purchasing power.

The figure, of course, isn't exact, MIAFW explained, as purchasing habits vary from person to person. But it does highlight how even those who try to be conscious, smart consumers can support unethical global business practices.

"Even those who try to be conscious consumers (like hipsters) can unknowingly support unethical global business practices, fueling the growing issue of forced and slave labor in supply chains," MIAFW’s founder, Justin Dillon, said in a statement provided to the Huffington Post. "This is due to the fact that there are little to no resources available to learn where goods are actually sourced from."

hipster slaves

Modern-day slavery affects more people now than during any other period in human history. According to the 2014 Global Slavery Index produced by the Walk Free Foundation, there's an estimated 35.8 million people living in slavery around the globe.

As The Washington Post reported, the foundation doesn't follow "some softened, by-modern-standards definition of slavery" -- it tracks child soldiers, people who are forced into labor and prostitution, child brides and others who are treated more like property than people.

Earlier this month, officials rescued more than 300 slaves in Indonesia after a story by the Associated Press exposed the human rights abuse. The slaves had been lured or tricked into leaving their homes behind and then forced to catch fish to supply the global demand for seafood, AP reported. Some of the fish ended up in the U.S.

But there are ways consumers can get informed on the products they buy, and what role such items play in the global marketplace. Organizations like Free2Work aim to educate people on global brands and how those companies relate to forced and child labor practices around the world.

MIAFW recently launched Forced Labor Risk Determination and Mitigation (FRDM) -- a service for companies to learn more about obtaining their products from ethical sources. The digital service, which MIAFW claims is the first software designed to help companies rid their supply chains from slavery, educates companies on business-to-business commerce and pinpoints high-risk regions where the abuse takes place, helping them avoid supporting such operations.

To learn more about Made in a Free World and FRDM, click here.

To take action on pressing poverty issues, check out the Global Citizen's widget below.

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10 Countries With The Most Slaves (2014)
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