Human Trafficking and Heroic Consumerism
Consumers are the new activists in the fight against modern slavery, with awareness campaigns urging citizens to use their consumer power to demand an end to labour exploitation. The contribution of political, or ethical, consumerism campaigns to the trafficking narrative is examined in this article through an analysis of the characterisation of consumers and corporations in campaigns from SlaveryFootprint.org, Stop the Traffik UK, and World Vision Australia. This article argues that campaigns urging political consumerism depict consumers as the heroic rescuers of enslaved victims, and embed solutions to modern slavery within a culture of unquestioned capitalism. This approach may have the unintended consequence of sidelining victims from the trafficking story as the focus of the narrative becomes the product, rather than the victim, of labour exploitation.
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