5 Things You Can Do for Garment Workers

Just in time for World Fair Trade Day on May 11, 2013.

By Alleson Kase, co-founder, TAMMACHAT Natural Textiles
  1. Learn the difference between what you need and what you want.
    If we all bought fewer things, we would have bigger budgets for essentials.
  2. Support local farmers, craftspeople and economies when and where possible.
    A sweater that was knit locally was not produced in a dangerous sweatshop.
  3. Bring your reading glasses shopping, if necessary, so you can read labels.
    Develop an awareness of what's in products and where they're made. Look especially for certifications such as "union-made," "fair trade" or "organic."
  4. Ask for fairly traded and ethically sourced items from the stores you frequent.
    Independent local retailers can be more responsive than mega-stores like Walmart. If you feel it's necessary to shop at chain stores, take time to write to their CEO to express your concerns for workers' rights and environmental protection.
  5. As global consumers, we can also learn more about global labour trends.
    The World Fair Trade Organization spells out 10 principles of fair trade and web sites like cleanclothes.org feature news and links for consumer campaigns.
Thai weaver at her loom
Thai weaver works at her loom on her own schedule

Bangladesh garment factory disaster: wake up call?

Like you, we are following the news of the worst garment building disaster in Bangladesh's history and mourn for the lost lives and injured workers. Continue to ask where your clothes are made and under what working conditions. If they are cheap, there's a reason.

What can you do?

Enjoy photos from Thailand, Laos & Burma

Get a taste of our travels through our Facebook Photo Albums (open to all, not just Facebook users):