A large screen shows a small girl whose skin shimmers. She is standing outside of a “rat hole” mine for mica. “The sparkle in lipstick, in nail polish” comes in part from her labor, Justin Dillon, founder/CEO of Made in a Free World, announces to the Jewish women philanthropists.
Another story mentions a five-year-old boy who works diving for fish. If he surfaces too quickly, to breathe, he is beaten on the head with a wooden oar.
Dillon is speaking about slavery and human trafficking to the Lions of Judah, Jewish women philanthropists from around the world who are gathered at their conference, “Hear Us Roar” in Washington, D.C., in 2016. Susan Stern, past chair of National Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federations of North America, describes the participants to the speakers in this session as “the top women philanthropists in the world. They happen to be Jewish.”
“There are huge profits from slavery, so charity alone won’t make a dent,” said Dillon, who has been tasked by the government to “purify the government supply chain,” making sure that none of its suppliers use trafficked labor, “making sure that there isn’t slave labor going into farming the fish. You are the chief procurement officer in your life — with every transaction think about who makes what you’re buying.” Stern added that the atrocities of human trafficking and sex trafficking were very profitable because of the demand for consumer sex and ever cheaper consumer goods.
Lilith asked, “How can intervention occur? What do you say if you suspect that someone brought in by a third party to clean your house or rake your leaves might be a labor slave?” Susan Stern replied, “I ask in the nail salon: ‘Where do you go at night? Do you ever go to the movies?’ in order to give people an opening to say a little bit about their lives.” Stern also suggested hotline stickers in “every synagogue bathroom, every summer camp bathroom, because camping brings in foreign counselors and you want to make sure they’re protected.”
Amelia Dornbush also contributed to this article.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Lilith Magazine.