Submitted by Mata Traders
With its many layers of outsourcing and subcontracting, the fashion industry’s complex supply chain allows for little transparency and accountability of retailers, factories, or governments. Between the tangled sourcing system, downward pressures on prices, and intense production demands by fashion brands, garment factories can become prime locations for forced and child labor.
Mata Traders is dedicated to providing an alternative for workers by partnering with fair trade artisan cooperatives in India and Nepal. The co-ops provide dignified work and a stable income for hundreds of artisans from impoverished and marginalized communities. Artisans are able to improve their standard of living: they can provide necessities for their family and enjoy benefits such as health care, retirement pensions, and daycare. In these co-ops, artisans are trained in artisanal skills including hand embroidery, working with sewing machines, and traditional block and screen printing. There are also many general educational courses such as literacy classes and computer training.
The education and support that these artisans receive goes far beyond workforce development. There are workshops on topics such as nutrition and there are social workers available to assist artisans with a variety of matters, ranging anywhere from starting a bank account to dealing with HIV and AIDS. Furthermore, the cooperatives empower these women by providing meaningful work, facilitating community, and offering leadership opportunities like materials buyer and assistant production manager positions.
By sourcing from these cooperatives, Mata Traders aims to make an impact on global poverty by empowering artisans in India and Nepal. Aligning with the mission of our company to support fair labor, Mata Traders is collaborating with Free the Slaves to spread awareness of human trafficking. Customers can enter the coupon code FTSJuly to receive a 10 percent discount off Mata Traders products, and Mata will contribute a 10 percent donation to Free the Slaves.
Creating awareness of human trafficking, including the prevalence of forced labor in supply chains, and providing fair employment are two significant ways we can work towards abolishing slavery. Choosing to buy fair trade is one meaningful way that consumers can participate in the movement to end human trafficking.
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Editor’s note: Mata Traders is one of 12 ethical fashion brands that have teamed up with Free the Slaves in July for our 25 Days of Fashion Against Slavery summer campaign.