Sunday, August 26, 2012

Coffee? Tea? Chocolate?

I'm sure I have listed some favorites of many of you in this post title.  I, for one, definitely enjoy each one of them.:-)

I recently attended a Conference UMW Social Action Workshop.   It was very well-attended, with over 200 who had registered.  What was the topic?  Human trafficking!  Perhaps many of you have not given any thought to this crime against humanity.  It involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring, or receiving a person through  use of force, coercion, or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them.  Every year, thousands of men, women, and children fall into the hands of traffickers in their own countries and abroad.  Every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims.  The information in this paragraph was taken from our program.

You may be asking, "How do coffee, tea, and chocolate apply to this concern?"  Well, there are many places in the world where labor trafficking is a HUGE concern!  In some of those places, there are people who are forced to work under unsafe conditions, for little pay, to produce the coffee, tea, and chocolate many of us desire.

Coffee, tea, and chocolate!

One way we can be sure that no one is being exploited in the production of these items when we purchase them is to look for a "fair trade" marking on the label.  These are labeled "Equal Exchange," and are available for purchase at our church.  When you shop, look for similar labels.  This lets you know that the proceeds from the product will go directly to the worker who developed it.  If you want to know more about where to find similar products, UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) has a website where you will find information about purchasing equal exchange products. 

The above picture illustrates a chocolate bar, cocoa for baking, Earl Grey tea bags, and, in this case, a bag of decaffeinated coffee.  I left the caffeinated coffee in the cupboard by mistake.:-(  In past years, I have also been able to purchase delicious, equal exchange, dried cranberries, and I am disappointed that they are not available any longer.

And - about the workshop?  We were presented much information about conditions that exist in our own communities, not just restricted to conditions "over there."  A website, which I have not been able to access,, will have information about things (such as clothing). that are made using fair labor practices. 

Those of us who attended were requested to bring bras - used or new - for the "Free the Girls" project. The women attending the workshop brought 6,000 bras and contributed $1,000 to assist in shipping costs!  These are to be sent to Mozambique in an effort to combat sex trafficking.  It was an amazing contribution from the women in our Conference!

There is a website - - if you want more information in case  you might want to help in this very serious worldwide problem.

Thank you, and bless you for reading.  I appreciate your comments.


  1. Excellent post Nellie! Thank you.

  2. In case anyone should have any doubts about the quality of these products, I can assure everyone that they are top quality, equal to or better than what you might purchase otherwise. This is a truly serious issue, and we hear only a brief snippet on the news occasionally. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

  3. I will certainly look from now on Nellie for the Fair trade mark. It is amazing what I have learned here. I am glad that your conference was so successful. xo Diana

  4. Wow I didn't know this. Thank you for the information. The bras was really interesting too.

  5. I was aware of this and thank you for the blog making others aware as well.