How many slaves work for you? Website explores global issue

Published: Nov. 10, 2011 at 10:46 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2011 at 10:46 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – If you thought slavery was over, think again. According to one website, you may even have several slaves working for you.

Next time you buy a pair of shoes, a piece of jewelry, a new shirt or even a cup of coffee, you could be contributing to a global slavery problem.

At least, that's what one group is saying.

There's a new website called, put out by the State Department and Call + Response. The goal is to help educate people about the human cost it takes to produce goods.

The website claims its goal is to get people to start asking companies where their materials come from.The website determines how many slaves work for you depending on how you answer an 11-question survey.


Wilmington resident James Hiott took the survey. The results showed he had 41 slaves working for him.

"I'm very surprised at that number," said Hiott. "Still, it's food for thought. It makes me a little more aware of something that I didn't put a whole lot of thought to."

Yunus Kaya, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington said a healthy majority of the products we buy come from abroad. Kaya grew up in Turkey and says though he hasn't seen the worst examples of human exploitation, he has had some experience with it.

"For me, compared to a regular American, it's real," said Kaya. "I've seen examples of that, especially in the 1990s."

Kaya says he'd like to know the methodology behind the new site but says nonetheless, it does open eyes.

"We don't think of what we consume much," said Kaya. "Maybe this is a way of getting our attention."

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