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Slave-free Bibles

26 August 2009 No Comment

con_sweatshopfrom End Human Trafficking -

In 2007, a case of crucifixes purchased by St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York was traced back to a factory in China where girls as young as 15 were forced to work up to 19-hour days, seven days a week. Today, Christian items from bible covers to t-shirts are being made in factorys which abuse and traffic workers. And some Christians are standing up and refusing to stand for slavery.

The Just Holy Hardware Campaign has launched this week as part of a movement to end slavery, especially slavery of children, in the production of religious items. The initiative, based in Australia, aims to provide religious organizations with paraphernalia made under fair labor conditions, with a “no-slavery” guarantee. Sr. Pauline Coll, a representative on the national executive of Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH), has been particularly outspoken on the issue, saying the massive U.S.-based Association for Christian Retail,

“was found to lack basic codes of conduct and a factory-monitoring program. There was little to reassure American Christians that the religious products they buy to celebrate their faith were not made under inhumane conditions.”

In Australia, a team of NGOs have drafted a Christian Good Standard, which they hope organizations will adhere to when purchasing Christian items. Organizations in Australia are currently adopting it.

The U.S. is a huge market for Christian goods, and if the Association for Christian Retail (a very large organization) agreed to adopt a set of standards similar to the one adopted in Australia, it would make a huge impact on the lives of the slaves who are right now suffering in silence while making religious artifacts. Please, ask the Association for Christian Retail to adopt a set of anti-slavery standards for the production of Christian goods.

Christian or not, slavery is wrong. And slave-made items are tainted by this injustice, whether they are shoes or crucifixes. We need all people, regardless of faith to come together and take action so that we can end slavery in the production of religious artifacts.

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