Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the USA and we have much to be thankful for. As a parent of two children, I am very thankful to live in a country that vehemently and diligently protects my children (and me too for that matter). I recently came across the website ProductOfSlavery that provides an amazing and informative visual representation of the plight of children (and adults, actually) all around the world. A few screenshots below but visit the website, please... (click on any to enlarge):
Which Countries Use Child & Forced Labor:
It is interesting that the most serious offenders are in the bottom half of the map. Why is that? The bigger circles represent the number of products produced in that country with child and/or forced labor.
For What Purpose:
You can flip easily from map view to graph view to see the specific products that are being produced with either child labor or forced labor (or, I assume, both). Clicking on any product type will bring up more specific information & facts about it.
India is #1 (and not in a good way):
Clicking on the number will generate a web and identify the products generated in the country using child/forced labor. The website allows you to differentiate between "Child Labor" and "Forced Labor" (unfortunately, in India's case, the number 18 represents child labor). Clicking on one of the products, bricks, for example, will display other countries that use forced or child labor to produce bricks (of which there are a bunch).
What's Up With Bricks?
So, 14 countries produce bricks with either child labor or forced labor. One nice aspect of this website is that when you get to this level of detail, the right side of the page shows you facts about this product and how it is produced... with citations. I strongly suggest reading these for a better understanding of what is going on out there.
A couple of final thoughts...
Much of the data for this visual comes from the US Government and can be downloaded here. As I was looking at that data this statistic jumped out at me: "The International Labor Organization estimates that over 12 million persons worldwide are working in some form of forced labor or bondage and that more than 200 million children are at work, many in hazardous forms of labor". This should be front page news, right?
As an educator, how can I raise awareness among students and encourage them to be part of the solution? Is it my responsibility to do so? Should we actively be boycotting any and all products produced in countries that use child and forced labor? Will this make the situation better or worse? I think showing them this website might be the start of a great discussion and help to facilitate some actions that might work toward a solution.
Politics and emotions aside, from a visual standpoint this website is fantastic. It is easy to use, purposeful, re-enforces the main concept, and made me think (and want to act). Spend a few minutes on this website and see what you notice.
Visit Anti-Slavery.org for more information and ideas about what you can do to help combat this major human rights violation.
Next week I will provide a more uplifting visual... I promise.