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Medicine cabinet packed full of skincare products
Medicine cabinet packed full of skincare products
Megan Charles / Her Campus Media

You Have 42 Slaves Working for You

While scrolling through the endless abyss of the internet, I came across “slavery footprint.” This website analyzes how many slaves you have working for you based on the products you have. Honestly, it shocked me a little to see that in this century, slavery is still heavily present in our day-to-day lives. When I opened the site, it asked: 

Where do you live? 

I entered Riverside, CA, since I live on campus. At the bottom of this page, a little factoid stated that “there are 27 million slaves worldwide,” which is a ginormous number equating to the “combined population of Australia and New Zealand.”

Let’s start with the basics. 

On this page, you input your gender and age; I put in ‘female’ and ‘18’. On the right side of this slide, we learned that “Pakistani boys are signed away to bonded labor at the age of 13” and that those contracts don’t expire till they turn 30. 

Do you have any kids? 

Since I don’t have any kids, I skipped this slide. While describing your kids, you learn that “250,000 kids work in Pakistani brick kilns in complete social isolation.” 

What’s under your roof? 

This slide basically asks where you live, with the options of a homeowner, renter, college student, or couch surfer; each option allows you to add more detail, and the left side panel allows you to customize your responses even more. I chose ‘college student’ and also listed that I owned a car. 

What’s on your plate? 

This slide wants the details of your diet – how much meat, dairy, seafood, grains, and fruit/ vegetables you consume. I customized the sliders to my rough vegetarian dietary restrictions and then utilized the left panel to specify further what I eat. While measuring the amount of seafood you consume, we also learn that “bonded labor is used for a majority of Southeast Asian fishing, which supplies more shrimp to the US than any other country.” 

Let’s take a peek in your medicine cabinet. 

What kind of hygiene products do you use? For this slide, you pick which products you don’t own and can further customize your products with the left panel. We also learn that there is an Indian child mining mica to make those products for every person wearing makeup.  

How much jewelry do you own? 

Here you fill out the type of jewelry you own and what metal it is made of. While basking in your riches, we also learned that “blood isn’t limited to diamonds” and how Burmese slaves mine rubies under the control of the government and the army.  

When it comes to electronics, what are you? 

Everyone owns some sort of technology, and on this slide, we learn that a slave has touched almost every piece of technology. 

What about sporting goods? 

On this slide, you select the sporting goods you own; on the left sidebar, you can customize your responses and find out that water bottles and a portable charger are considered sporting goods. Thankfully I have a gym membership, so this slide did not raise my score too much. 

What’s in your closet? 

Before you start counting the number of shirts you own, I recommend educated guesswork. While you guess how many pairs of jeans are in your closet, we learn that more Uzbekan children are enslaved in cotton fields than kids enrolled in the NYC public school system. 

How Many times have you paid for sex? 

The last slide does not count towards your score. Nonetheless, it calls attention to the massive problem of sexual slavery that is the reality of so many women, teens, adolescents, and even young children. 

You have 42 slaves working for you

When I saw “42 slaves,” genuine shock rolled over my body. One is too much; however, this quiz helped put into perspective where my goods are coming from. In the future, when purchasing products, it’s important to “buy better” and give my hard-earned money to companies that support my values. I encourage everyone to take this quiz and discover the human component behind your products and livelihood.  

Senna Omar

UC Riverside '25

Senna is a political science major, who plans on going to law school. Her passions include writing, photography, and journalism and she plans on becoming a political journalist following graduation.
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