November 18, 2022
Media Contact:
Malissa Bodmann


Shop at local, national retailers that are free of forced labor

CLEVELAND, OH – This holiday season, Greater Cleveland shoppers can help end the cycle of human trafficking if they choose their products and their retailers wisely, according to the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking.

Kirsti Mouncey, President & CEO of the Collaborative, which brings together more than 70 organizations to prevent sex and labor trafficking in Cuyahoga County, said labor trafficking is a substantial problem worldwide – even in Northeast Ohio. It’s unclear how many individuals in Cuyahoga County are trafficked each year because there is no central reporting system in the U.S., however Ohio is among the top states with highest call volume for help to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. 

“A recent United Nations report confirmed what we already know – forced labor has increased significantly over the last five years, with 28 million people around the world estimated to be in forced labor, including children,” Mouncey said. “Human trafficking is a problem that has so many tentacles, but one of the ways we can help end it is through smart shopping. This holiday season, we can all do our part to help end human trafficking if we can decrease – or even stop – the demand for products created by forced labor.”

Coffee, cocoa, tobacco, cotton and garments are some of the most common goods produced by child labor worldwide, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Tips for buying products that don’t use forced labor:

1. Look for Fair Trade on the label — Fair Trade means companies are taking action to promote fair wages across their supply chains.

2. Know the certifications — there are several Fair Trade certifiers across the world. The most common names you’ll see on labels are “Fairtrade America,” “Fair Trade Certified,” “Fair Trade USA,” “Fair Trade Federation,” and “Fair for Life.”

3. Do your research — Fairtrade America’s website offers a searchable list of products at Equal Exchange distributes coffee, tea, chocolate, avocados and more produced by farmer cooperatives that pay fair wages.

These are some of the local retailers that sell Fair Trade products free of labor trafficking:

Joyce’s Boutique and Hair Salon, Chagrin Falls, OH
Sells jewelry, bags, accessories and other products that support fair trade practices.

One World Shop, Rocky River, OH
Sells artisan-made goods from 65 different countries.

Revy, Cleveland, OH
Sells products from artisans in El Salvador.

Shema, Ohio
Sells all-natural fair trade shea butter products.

Storehouse Tea, Cleveland, OH
Sells fair-trade teas that are produced by people who are paid a fair price for their

Esperanza Threads, Cleveland, OH
Trains unemployed and underemployed to get jobs in the Cleveland garment industry;
pays a fair wage for their work.

The Collaborative to End Human Trafficking’s mission is to lead, empower, and connect our community to eradicate human trafficking. The Collaborative provides leadership and expertise to empower a systemic, community-wide response to human trafficking, through education, resources, training, and facilitating a multi-disciplinary collaborative. As the backbone organization of a 60+ organization membership program called Greater Cleveland’s Coordinated Response to Human Trafficking, the
Collaborative provides strategic leadership to create social change.

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Last modified: November 22, 2022