Fair Trade and Root Causes of Migration
Posted on March 18, 2013 by Fair Trade Town: Chicago
Many of us are relieved to see some serious movement toward comprehensive immigration policy because we have heard the terrible stories of family separation through deportation. We have heard the tragic tales of people dying in the dessert. But in this discussion of paths to citizenship and “securing our borders”, something is missing: the discussion about WHY so many people would choose to leave their homeland.
Trade policies that the U.S. implemented through NAFTA twenty years ago have been a driving force, pushing people to take huge risks and move north. Small subsistence farmers in Mexico lost their ability to earn a living, forcing many of them to cross the border in a desperate search for work. While the call to renegotiate NAFTA has been on the table for some time, a development strategy that includes fair trade is essential in addressing migration.
Fair Trade, a certification that assures that the interests of workers and the environment are protected has become an important development strategy globally. And it gives us U.S. consumers a role in development, saying that we will be thoughtful in our consumption, that we will pay a fair price, even though the price of sweatshop goods may be lower. These principles of fair trade call us to support the rights of workers (no matter where they live) and offer solidarity.
When our wallet is affecting by acting on fairness, it’s challenging! However, as we learn more about the people who produce what we consume, our compassion can overtake us. It is easier to do the right thing. Here in Chicago, Chicago Fair Trade offers opportunities through its programming to learn about coffee farmers, those who produce apparel, cocoa and banana workers, those who harvest tea and sugar.
Please contact us is you would like a presentation to your organization, school or congregation on root causes of migration. email@example.com