Umbrella Market and Fair Trade

Individuals in Eastern North Carolina are encouraged to attend the Umbrella Market in Uptown Greenville.

ENC Stop Human Trafficking will have a booth at the weekly event where we will be selling certified fair trade items that have been hand-crafted from around the world! The Umbrella Market is every Wednesday, weather permitting, from 5 to 8. The first one of the summer will be today, May 4.

Come on out to see all the local vendors and make sure to stop by our table

There’s a phrase related to the goods we buy, but do we really understand the power behind those two words? Fair Trade.

This is the definition provided by the World Fair Trade Organization:

Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that
seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by
offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South.
Fair Trade organisations have a clear commitment to Fair Trade as the principal core of their mission. They, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.”


Fair trade provides justice in the world by dignifying workers around the world by providing them with fair compensation for their products. This in turn allows people to support and care for themselves and their families.

This label does not mean products will be too expensive for consumers. Fair trade item prices are often on par with the prices of items of similar quality. Fair trade does not mean that individuals from the developing world are paid wages that workers from the Western World are paid. It simply means that they are paid a wage that is fair–it’s based on price of production and is fair compensation for the time and materials invested in the product. This also means that fair trade is not charity–we are not over-paying workers because they are in need–we are insuring they are paid what they are owed.

Fair trade offers sustainability–people can continue to work. Without fair compensation these individuals would not be able to continue in the same work because investment would be greater than reward. Situations where individuals are worked without fair compensation–because of force, fraud, or coercion–are instances of labor trafficking. Fair trade insures trafficking is not occurring anywhere in the supply chain. Increase in the demand for fair trade will in turn decrease the demand for slavery.

What can we do to decrease labor trafficking both in our own communities and on a global scale?

  1. Buy local goods when you can. This way, you know where the items are coming from and where the revenue is going.
  2. Buy fair trade certified goods when you have the option. (Look for logo.) This in turn, shows businesses that the fair trade certification is important to consumers.
  3. When we go to our favorite stores, cafes, and restaurants ask about stocking with fair trade products.
  4. Support legislation that promotes transparency in supply chains and supports the eradication of slave labor.
  5. Change the way we speak about workers in other countries. It’s easier to dehumanize fellow inhabitants of our world than we realize, and that is dangerous.
  6. Share articles on social media and show that you support fair wages for products around the world. Believe it or not, political offices keep track of what seems to be trending topics on social media sites, because this gives insight into what is important to voters.
  7. Remind ourselves that a few dollars on clothes and other goods is not worth someone else paying with their lives. We’re in it, to end it.
  8. Continue to ask questions. The World Fair Trade Organization and Fair Trade USA are great resources. Fair Trader is an online shop with items that are certified fair trade. (Who doesn’t love online shopping?)




One thought on “Umbrella Market and Fair Trade

  1. Pingback: Immigration and Trafficking: Looking Beyond the Controversy | Eastern NC Stop Human Trafficking Now

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