The Real Cost of Clothing


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One of those listening was a woman named Lydia,

a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira,

who was a worshipper of God. 

The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.

Acts 16:14

During the anti-human trafficking training I attended, we were shown a video illustrating the elements of trafficking.  The narrator said that the criminals are not the only ones who profit from slavery.  Certain industries benefit.  The owner of the motel used by sex slaves is making money, so he looks the other way.  The guy who rents out trailers on a seasonal basis to a trafficker (who needs to house the labor slaves he’s using to pick tomatoes) is getting his money.  So when he sees something a little strange – like the fact that no one ever leaves the trailer during their downtime – he doesn’t ask questions.

Consumers also benefit.  Consumers of cheap labor, cheap products and cheap sex benefit financially.  At every stage in the chain of production, people try to lower costs so that there’s more profit at the final sale.  One way to cut costs is to pay people less & less – and then not pay them at all.  Slaves make a lot of clothing; and many of us are complicit in the slave trade just because of the clothes we wear.  I don’t know about men, but women like to brag about how little they paid for clothing.  When people compliment us about our clothing, we’ll say, “Thanks.  I got in on sale!”

I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, so I’m always on the lookout for a bargain.  As much as I describe myself as an abolitionist, my complicity in the slave trade through the clothes I buy keeps me humble.  I talked to one of my peers at the training, who said that she tries to buy American.  Since people are trafficked inside the United States, it’s still possible to buy slave-made clothing, but she figures it lowers the possibility of something being slave-made.  I’ll also be careful of what I buy and who I buy it from.  As much as possible, I want a clean robe (Revelation 22:14).

If you want to know more about human trafficking, log onto


She makes linen garments and sells them,

and supplies the merchants with sashes . . . .

Give her the reward she has earned,

and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31:24 & 31

BOW is my first experience in blogging, and my writing has undergone an evolution since I started. I use If I Knew Then What I Know Now to think aloud about my Christian walk. When you read it, my hope is that WE (the BOW community & friends) then discuss how to apply God's word into our everyday lives in a practical manner. As Christian lay-theologians, we'll talk about our world, and how we can be in it but not of it. So whatever your thoughts are about what you read, PLEASE share.
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1 comment

  1. pelicanflies

Lift up a fellow Christian!

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