Shopping and Making a Difference. Though these two concepts aren’t always found side by side – they are when talking about Fair Trade and this fundraiser!
This past month, Ten Thousand Villages hosted a two-hour fundraising shopping event, with a total of 20% of the proceeds donated to Richmond Justice Initiative. Thank you Ten Thousand Villages! While at this event, RJI staff and volunteers shared with shoppers about RJI, human trafficking facts and prevention, and how to get actively involved in the prevention and eradication of human trafficking!
One of the shoppers that day was a pre-teen named Grace. She asked us what RJI was raising awareness about. I quickly but carefully crafted an age-appropriate response, as I wanted it to resonate with her, but not frighten her. I briefly explained to her what trafficking is and about some of the methods that traffickers use to lure teens (as the average age of entry is 11-14 years old); she responded with the most impactful and touching question of the day: “I only have $.75 in my bag; can I donate it all to help?”
Humbled and inspired, I told her that her money would be going to help a very important cause. She smiled and hugged the Vicuna stuffed animal that had just been bought for her at the store.
Richmond Justice Initiative has partnered with Ten Thousand Villages Richmond, a Fair Trade Retailer, for several events in the past years. Our two organizations share many purposes in common, including anti-human trafficking. One of the principles of Fair Trade Certification is to ensure that no child or forced labor is used in producing goods. This means that whenever you shop Fair Trade, you can be certain that the source company went through a rigorous certification process that reflects 10 different principles. Because of this, RJI commends Fair Trade certification standards and other ways that businesses go to lengths to ensure no forced labor is used to produce any part of their products. This is why staff from both RJI and Ten Thousand Villages, among other organizations, also serve on the steering committee for Fair Trade RVA, a movement to get retailers and organizations in Richmond to carry Fair Trade products so that Richmond can be recognized as a ‘Fair Trade Town’.
The truth is, we can all make a difference. If you are inspired by Grace’s story and would like to make a difference as well, donate here to make an impact and write “Inspired by Grace” in the notes to seller section.
Written by: Jessica Willis
Richmond Justice Initiative Prevention Project Manager
Fair Trade RVA Steering Committee Member