The Price of Free

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Lately, I’ve noticed more documentaries coming up on Netflix: ones like Fyre and Blackfish shed light on a festival that never happened and the mistreatment of killer whales. So this week I wanted to find one that aligned with what we do at sariKNOTsari.

You always hear me talking about ethical sourcing and slow fashion but I wanted to address why I talk about this. The reason we do these things is so we aren’t supporting modern slavery and child labour. So I decided to watch a movie on this and review it. I won’t say too much because the documentary speaks for itself and I really encourage you to watch it.

 

It’s called The Price of Free and documents the work of Kailash Satyarthi; the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 (along with Malala Yousafzai that year). According to the trailer, “As a young man, he promised himself that he would end child slavery in his lifetime. In the decades since, he has rescued more than 80,000 children and built a global movement.”

The movie starts with a raid of a factory in India. You see Kailash and his team knock on locked doors of room after room looking for children that he knows are there. The owner repeatedly tells him that there are no children but he persists. Finally, after climbing to the fourth floor and sifting through piles of heavy bags, he finds around 10 children hiding under them.

 

This sets the scene for the rest of the documentary. During these raids Kailash has found anywhere from 10 to 100 children. In another example, he finds a room of children making jewellery boxes. There are a few of them sitting on the floor putting gems on the boxes. There is a chemical leaking on the floor that they use for the glue. Kailash picks up the box and turns it over to see a homesense label...A HOMESENSE LABEL! I had to pause the film for a moment at this point because I just couldn’t believe it.

We know child labour and modern slavery exist. However, we aren’t forced to see them in our day to day life. This makes it hard to directly associate our purchases with these unfair practices. Another problem is transparency in companies. How do we know which ones are good or bad? One thing that helps with this is apps like Good On You. They rate companies on their labour practices, environmental standards, and animal treatment and do the research so you don’t have to.

 

Time and time again Kailash puts himself in danger to find children and return them to their families. When asked why he does it he says that if it was his own child he would stop at nothing to find them...so why wouldn’t he do this for others? This is what amazed me. Kailash never gives up and never loses hope. He believes in the power that one person has and even more, the positive change we can make when we all work together.

That’s what I want you to take from this blog. It’s not meant to make you feel bad. It’s meant for us to all know that our actions make a difference and we can/do positively impact the world. None of us are perfect but it’s important that we try and do our best. No one can buy everything fair trade or ethically sourced but, as I’ve said before, it’s important to ask where things are coming from and have those conversations.

 

Kailash says it’s all about education. We first need to know that there is a problem before we can do anything about it. Find out where your products come from and then from there decide what you want to do. Do you want to keep buying from that company because they pay fairly? Do you want to write a letter asking them to change their practices because they don’t?

While I’m here I think it’s important to talk about accessibility to ethically sourced items. I know they aren’t readily available at every store. But as there is more demand, the supply will grow too. Also, if you can’t afford higher priced items, you can support the fair trade movement through a reusable straw or upcycled scrunchie...every little bit helps. It’s easy to think we can’t make a huge impact as one person. But just look at Kailash- he is one person who, with the help of his team in India, have saved over 80,000 children from slavery.

 

And they don’t just rescue children! They also work to ensure more children aren’t being forced into this industry. They are getting to the root of the problem of modern slavery. His centre educates the children so, when they are old enough to get a job, they can get a good one and help their family break the cycle of poverty.

I will leave you with this quote: “Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.” Rumi

 

The Price of Free urges us to think and act. You can find more info about how to help here: https://priceoffree.com/

And you can find the full documentary here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsqKz1hd_CY&list=PLzvRx_johoA-rUghlugCzdOzSUMxXbUV0&index=1

Until next week,

Melanie


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  • Diana on

    I remember a couple of years ago commenting on the Instagram site of the women on The Social for wearing clothing made by fast fashion and unethical practices. I was called out by a number of people because of my comments. Not sure if they were from the fashion houses or misinformed people in general. All I know is that we don’t want to know the horror stories of how our clothing is made. Thank you for courageously taking that challenge.
    By the way, they still continue to wear cheap, unethically made clothing.

  • Kim on

    What a great blog. Such an eye opener.


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