Resources, Fair Trade

Modern slavery and coffee

Artwork by  Sarah Pritchard

Artwork by Sarah Pritchard

In Guatemala, an estimated half a million children work unpaid to harvest coffee.

"Paid" workers need to fill a quota of 100 pounds per day to earn their $3-a-day wage.

Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia, Guinea, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya are some of the biggest coffee exporters in the world, They're origins we're used to seeing on our coffee bags.

And all of them are known to use child and/or forced labor in coffee production.

We're grateful to have a supplier who visits coffee farms in person, has long relationships with the farmers, and pays them even more than he'd be obligated to with his Fair Trade certification.

Knowing your sources is important in our collective responsibility to end slavery and child labor.

I recently found a helpful resource for knowing which coffee companies take this responsibility seriously, and which don't. I was disappointed to find that some names I expected to be scored well weren't sourced as well as I assumed, including Whole Foods, Intelligentsia, and Stumptown. If you want more information on how to vote with your wallet, check out this e-pamphlet by Not for Sale: