I am wondering if you smart readers have answers for my question.
Am I buying the services of slaves?
About a week ago, more or less, I caught an episode of Katie Couric's talk show. Her guests were discussing the problem of trafficking of girls and women (and sometimes boys). Often they are forced into a sex slave nightmare. Sometimes it is a work slave situation. For example, girls are removed from home, passports and IDs are taken, they are locked up with no access to and no contact with the outside world, and they are forced to do whatever the prisoner dictates.
I know this goes on. Sadly, the trafficking happens even in my own state. One thing the show talked about was the consumption we do and whether it encourages the existence of work slaves. Children are often forced to do labor in fields or mines, for example, and not allowed to go to school. If we buy the products of that field or mine, we are economically supporting slavery. Sadly, they said that the cosmetic industry is a big culprit.. some of the chemicals used in cosmetics are typically produced by child slaves. (There's another topic -- how to make purchases wisely so that we don't support slave labor. Where is the transparency?)
Now here is my question. Recently I started buying home-made Barbie doll clothes on e-Bay. One of the vendors I have purchased from sends me the doll clothes from China. At first I thought, "oh, how nice. I'm helping a fledgling entrepreneur in China make a cottage industry for herself." Then I began to wonder -- do these products come from a child labor/slave situation where the kids are made to work for pennies so that I can buy Barbie doll clothes on the cheap?
Some of these nice dresses go for as cheap as 99 cents. The exchange has gone very smoothly. I have purchased several of these fancy doll dresses (for various kids I know or as gifts for other kids). They come in the mail promptly and are well made and look cute on the Barbie dolls.
Is there a way I can find out -- reliably -- who is making these dresses? I don't want to support slave labor, but I do want to support someone trying to make an honest living and finding an easy way to work from home.
What do you think? What would you guess, when buying a dress for 99 cents from China? Remember it's on e-Bay where sometimes it has to go cheap so it'll sell, because of the glut of sellers... how can I research this to put my mind at ease?