While many of us consider slavery to be a thing of the past, Oakland-based startup Slavery Footprint urges us to think again.
The organization aims to bring awareness to slavery in the modern world with a social media-friendly quiz that determines a user's "slavery footprint," using data like diet, shopping habits, living situation and technology use. And the results might surprise you. (According to slaveryfootprint.org, we have 24 slaves each working for us here at HuffPost SF. And that's not even counting the interns.)
The organization defines slavery as "anyone who is forced to work without pay, being economically exploited and is unable to walk away," and the quiz is peppered with cleverly displayed facts and figures about our smartphones, coffee, sporting goods, clothing and food. (Shrimp cocktail, anyone?) And even though exploitation may be no secret, the extent of it -- and our contribution -- is sadly sobering.
While the calculation may be a bit flawed (nowhere did it ask where we purchased our food or clothing, whether or not we grew some of our own produce, or whether our jewelry was purchased new or inherited) but it certainly achieves its goal in shining a spotlight on the luxuries we may ignore investigating.
"Slavery is in everything," said Slavery Footprint Chief Executive Justin Dillon in an interview with The Huffington Post. He isn't kidding: In 2005, the United Nations even estimated that more than 12 million people are exploited worldwide for forced labor and sexual exploitation. "People have to own this issue for themselves," said Dillon. "This has to be something they think about when they go out and buy things, when they look at their kids.
According to SFist, Slavery Footprint received a $1.8 million grant from Google.org as a part of a larger Google proect to eradicate slavery. "To date, the movement has relied heavily on anecdote and emotion," said Dillon to SFist about the grant. "Google's support allows us greater empiricism, making us all the more successful."