Artisan Identity Theft

If a rich person’s identy is stolen, one expects a fuss
to be made about it. But what about when the identity
of a humble artisan is stolen? This is a serious problem
and a concern for the authentic traditional craftspeople.

Ethical Fashion Guatemala Aug 22, 2017 Article

Imagine you’re a weaver or leather-worker in Guatemala or any country. You labor intensely over a product — let’s say a bag featuring textiles unique to your heritage — and sell it to an American tourist for $35. It’s worth a good deal more, you think, but the American drives a hard bargain and considering 65 percent of your nation lives below the poverty line, something is always better than nothing. You take the sale.

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A few months later, you stumble across the bag you made selling online for nearly $300 on an American website that claims to be benefiting artisans like yourself. The website may feature a picture of yourself that you never gave the visiting tourist permission to take or use, or it may feature a picture of a weaver you’ve never met from another village.

The website may feature a picture of yourself that you never gave the visiting tourist permission to take or use, or it may feature a picture of a weaver you’ve never met from another village.

It’s a maddening scenario, unfortunately one that is sadly common
for skilled craftspeople whose work is devalued by systematic fraud.

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