A Day in Your Life: Touched by Modern Slavery

Fact Sheet
Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 20, 2014


The food you eat, the products you buy, and the consumer items you use on a daily basis may have been produced by victims of forced labor.

6:00 am:

The clothes on your back could have been produced by a man, woman, or child in a garment factory in Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America who is subjected to conditions of forced labor, including confiscated passports, no pay, long working hours to meet quota, and physical and sexual abuse. To complete your outfit, the jewelry you put on this morning may include gold mined by trafficked adults and children in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

8:00 am:

The electronics you use may require minerals that are produced in conflict-affected areas in Africa. Children and adults are forced to work in mines and in prostitution in surrounding communities. The smartphone you use may also be produced in Asia by adults and children who have been sold, coerced, or deceived into working in electronic factories and subjected to excessively long hours, minimal or no pay, and violence or threats of violence.

10:00 am:

The coffee you drink to keep you energized may have been harvested by victims of modern slavery. Some men and children work under conditions of forced labor on coffee plantations in Latin America and Africa. The sugar you put in that coffee may have also come from plantations where men, women, and children in Latin America, Asia, and Africa are subjected to conditions of forced labor and debt bondage. These victims were also likely exposed to high levels of pesticides and potential injuries from hazardous conditions used to cut sugar cane.

12:00 pm:

The fish you eat may have been caught by men in Southeast Asia or children in West Africa who are subjected to conditions of forced labor in the fishing industry. While catching your lunch, these victims may have been deprived of wages, food, water, and shelter, worked extremely long hours, and suffered physical or sexual abuse.

2:00 pm:

The chocolate dessert you eat may have been touched by modern slavery, primarily in Africa. Children who work on plantations that produce cocoa—the key ingredient in chocolate—are subjected to conditions of forced labor.

4:00 pm:

The tires on the car you drive may be made of rubber produced on plantations in Asia and Africa. Adults and children, including entire families, are forced to work on these plantations for little to no pay, for excessive hours to meet quotas, and in hazardous working conditions.

6:00 pm:

The bricks in the walls of your house may have been produced by bonded labor victims, including men, women, and children, in brick kilns primarily in Asia and Latin America. Children and adults are forced to work in hazardous working conditions in brick kilns for long hours and minimal pay.

8:00 pm:

The food you cook and eat for dinner may have been harvested or produced by men, women, and children subjected to forced labor on ranches and farms, or in food processing plants in the United States, Latin America, or Africa. These victims work long hours, receive little or no pay, and suffer physical hardship and emotional abuse to herd the cattle or pick the fruits and vegetables that will eventually make it to your dinner table.

11:00 pm:

The cotton in your bedroom sheets and your bath towels may have been harvested by men, women, and children in cotton fields, primarily in Central Asia and Africa. Children are forced to leave school to work under arduous and abusive conditions, sometimes with no pay, during annual cotton harvests.

The items that you wore, used, and consumed today may have been touched by the many victims of human trafficking from around the world. This is just one day. What is the impact of your consumer choices today and over the rest of your life? Take a survey and find out more information and ways to make a difference at www.slaveryfootprint.org.