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Travel stories, inspiration, news and musing

We are the dreamers, the seekers, the travellers, the adventurers, the optimists. It's nice to meet you! There are lots of us with the same DNA - we look forward to sharing the journey with you.

Filtering by Tag: modern slavery

Progress towards combating modern slavery

Aimee Pearce

I love progress. 

Sometimes it feels like we are living in a crazy time in history where if anything, we are seeing society reversing instead of progressing. So it's worth celebrating the moments (big and small) where we make some good decisions right?

Last week the Australian government pledged announced plans to introduce legislation to crack down on modern slavery by forcing big companies to be more transparent. So businesses that earn over $100 million will need to clearly identify the steps they are taking to address slavery by publishing a public statement every year outlining how they are scrutinising their supply chains and ensuring they aren't complicit in forced labour or human trafficking.

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How to Travel Without Screwing Up the World

Aimee Pearce

It may seem like common sense that our actions have implications. For someone, somewhere. One of Newton's laws is that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That may actually be one of the only things a remember from high school biology!  But for some reason, not everyone who travels seems to understand or take seriously that our decisions and the choices we make and activities we partake in while "on holidays" really does have an impact on the people, the communities and the culture of the country we are merely passing through. I certainly don't want to come across as condescending - in fact I am the first to admit I have made mistakes while travelling and with knowledge and maturity I would definitely make different decisions now in some situations that I may have found myself in during my late teens and early 20s. And in my early 30s I also don't suppose to be expert on anything! However, I also strongly believe ignorance is NOT bliss under any circumstance. That's actually not good enough!

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Why is fairtrade important?

Aimee Pearce

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of weaving your way through a bustling, colourful market. Of being pulled this way and that, cajoled, sweet-talked, harassed and harangued– only to bust out your travel-savvy, hard-nosed, no-nonsense, don’t screw me over, I will bargain you down to a fair price if it kills me, all-time haggling moves. We've all been there. The problem is, when you’re elbow-deep in a market far from home, you have no way of knowing what the “fair” price actually is.

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The man who took 22 years to find his way home

Elissa Webster

We've all heard stories of modern day slaves. We furrow our brows and allow ourselves to be shocked by the numbers. More slaves now than ever before in human history? 27 million?! Atrocious. Young girls, poor families, illegal migrants treated appallingly to produce our jeans/running shoes/chocolate/coffee/many other trappings of everyday Western world life. Terrible. 

But often, that's where it ends for us. The numbers are big and the distance between us and the people at the other end of the production chain is even bigger. It's hard to maintain a real sense of horror about the deprivation required to produce many of the items we consume on a whim when the talking points remain theoretical issues and the people, just numbers.

But every now and again, a story finds its way through the clutter. Details of a real person, their experience and feelings and response. And a real person makes it a lot easy to remember why I don't really want to buy that bargain-priced knit from a retailer I know to be dodgy, despite my justifications.

IMAGE via  SF Gate

IMAGE via SF Gate

For me, that person is Myint Naing.  I challenge you to read his story. And at the risk of being a spoiler, the end is worth the read.

Myint is one of more than 800 current and former slaves rescued or repatriated after a year-long Associated Press investigation into ongoing and widespread labour abuses in Southeast Asia's fishing industry. Without giving too much away, he was tricked into leaving his poverty stricken village in Myanmar and going to work for a short stint on an Indonesian fishing boat - and didn't return home for 22 years. And even that is a miracle, given that he was regularly told,

"We will never let you Burmese fishermen go. Even when you die."

I love seafood. But I hate the idea that someone like Myint was chained on a deck and beaten with a stingray tail to catch it. Or that there are Myints all over the world, right now, wishing they were home and making my clothes and shoes and goodness knows what else.

Luckily, we can do something about it. Getting educated about the issues, for one. Using our consumer dollar ethically, for another (we even know somewhere you can pick up awesome Fairtrade certified and slavery free gifts and goodies! ;) ).  Even travelling can be an opportunity to do our bit to help stop human trafficking, just by keeping an eye out for suspicious behaviour and encouraging others to do the same.  Kind of like a global Neighbourhood Watch. Wait ... is that another good reason to travel?

I'm sold. And hopefully one day, millions of people forced into labour won't be.