If you're reading this on a computer or tablet or smartphone...chances are pretty good your number just went up.

Did you enjoy a salad or fruit for lunch? I bet that accounts for some.

TVs, jewelry, clothing, home goods...they are all categories rife with sourcing via slave labor.

There are more slaves today than at any time in history, and many of the conveniences and normal ways of being most of us are used to are gotten on the backs of slaves forced to work. When we think of modern day slavery, we might be aware enough to understand the horrors of the forced sex and child sex industries we refer to as human trafficking...but what about agriculture and mining and technology and the garment industry?

For a sobering look at your own impact on forced labor, try the calculator at www.slaveryfootprint.org. It is a graphics-based look at how many slaves might be in service to your way of life. Input information about your lifestyle, read the blurbs in the margins for some specific stories and statistics, then discover how many slaves work for you.

Ouch.

But down't be left disempowered. Take action. At the end of the calculator, when you see your distressing score, there is an opportunity to call attention to your commitment to building a free world, and send notices to big businesses whose supply chains likely involve some element of slave labor. Your buying power speaks volumes--make sure it says what you want it to say.

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF.org) and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project (mentorartists.org). Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at www.ChangeByDoing.com. As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

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