I Spot Fair Trade

[Guest post by the I Spot Fair Trade creators from the SurvivorsConnect.org team.]

As anti-trafficking activists, it’s sometimes tough getting dressed in the morning or even making coffee – knowing that nearly all of our products, from the clothes we wear to the food/drinks we consume can be tainted with forced labor and slavery.
There are a lot of great efforts to help consumers understand just how human trafficking and modern day slavery is involved in our products. For example, Slavery Footprint just came out with an app that allows consumers to visualize how their purchases are connected to modern-day slavery, by calculating just approximately how much slavery labor may have gone into the product and its various parts.
Sounds great right? While it is doing a great job of engaging individuals, groups and businesses in building awareness for and create deployable action against forced labor, it is not exactly the most encouraging tool. Quite frankly, no one really wants to be reminded of his or her slavery-ridden purchase on a regular basis, or how bad he or she is with a tool that tells you that basically every product should be off limits.
I Spot Fair Trade
iSpot Fair Trade – Find Retail locations for Fair Trade through out the US & Canada
This is when we began to look into Fair Trade. Fair trade is a social movement and market-based approach that aims to help people in developing countries by promoting sustainable trade, fair wages and labor standards. At this time, a product labeled as “fair trade” is the closest we can get to deem any product as slavery free. When we shop, if we’re presented with a fair-trade option, we’ll take it!
Survivors Connect’s mission is to develop and extend innovative ICTs to help anti-trafficking efforts, and our link to the fair-trade movement was quite simple. SC partnered with the Fair Trade Resource Network in effort to make it easier for consumers to make wiser, helpful choices that do not promote slavery. Welcome – “I spot fair trade” a web-based map that allows individuals to identify where Fair Trade goods are bought and sold through out the United States and Canada!
About I Spot Fair Trade’s Mandate
Founder of Survivors Connect, Aashika Damodar, is excited about the initiative:

Our goal at Survivors Connect is to empower activists with innovative technologies like this. The idea behind iSpot Fair trade is to ‘crowdsource’ information about where fair trade goods are sold. Unlike normal databases that simply tell you where stores are (which often are incomplete, not kept up to date), iSpot allows individuals to send an email or submit via the website describing where they see fair trade. Their submission is then plotted on an interactive map, and visitors can search by town, see the submission, add reviews and comments and share with their friends and family. By doing so, we hope that this will stimulate the demand for more fair trade through out the country!
I Spot Fair Trade Reports
The iSpot Fair Trade map is simple. Users can contribute a location where they see fair trade goods sold via email or the website itself (and eventually by SMS/MMS). The platform aggregates information along with news, photos and videos that are related to existing sources, all in one place on an interactive Google Map. iSpot Fair Trade plots information about the location of Fair Trade stores, fair trade clothing, accessories, food, drink and more.
Jeff Goldman, the Executive Director of the Fair Trade Resource Network (FTRN) says,
“This easy-to-use tool will help conscious consumers find thousands of Fair Trade products and tens of thousands of locations near their homes or when they travel, thereby helping marginalized farmers, artisans and workers in poor countries get a better deal. Shoppers wont have to settle for conventional products and brands that often exploit producers and the environment in a race to the bottom.”
The Fair Trade Resource Network has already plotted over 200 locations that sell fair trade items. FTRN has now opened the site to the general public for individuals and groups to contribute. We hope in a year’s time, we’ll wont see any ground left on the map and maybe a smartphone APP for ISpot Fair Trade. If you have any recommendations for us, please reach out!
More Information
I Spot Fair Trade (map)
Contacts: Fair Trade Network: jeff at ftrn.org and SurvivorsConnect: adamodar at survivorsconnect.org