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Do you know your toddler’s "slave footprint"? Mine has 20 slaves

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Nicole Hill/The Christian Science Monitor

(Read caption) A kid's "slave footprint" – how much forced labor in the global human trafficking economy is used to produce all her "stuff" – can surprise parents. There are alternatives to products that may be involved in human trafficking. Here...Maple Landmark, a family-owned toy factory in Middlebury, Vermont, uses sustainable resources and non-toxic paint to make toys for children.

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Apparently, I have 47 slaves.

This has come as quite a surprise to me. Like most comfortable and educated Americans, before a few months ago I barely realized that slavery – even as the somewhat more broadly defined “modern day slavery” – still existed. And if I did have a fuzzy idea about the forced labor and human trafficking that exists around the globe, I certainly didn’t think I had any hand in it.  I mean, I buy organic. I walk to the grocery story. I even had one of those "(Product) Red"  campaign Gap T-shirts, before I shrunk it. I’m a “good” consumer.

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But working on this week’s Monitor magazine cover story about sex trafficking, I came across a website supported by the US State Department that lets people find out their “slavery footprint.” Basically, you enter a bunch of information about your lifestyle – the rooms in your house, the sort of food you eat, and so on - and the super easy website shoots back the number of slaves you use, along with other information.

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