Fair Trade and Artisans

 OFFERING TO THE VIRGIN MARY ON HER DAY;
IN HER SACRED NAME WE SWEAR THAT WHAT WE ARE SAYING HERE IS THE TRUTH.

Before the consumers in Europe and the USA/Canada even hear the Fair Trade message
(so that some of them are motivated to purchase merchandise from Fair Trade retailers)
Fair Trade’s message of assistance and understanding is heard by Third World artisans.


Craftspeople from Kenya to Peru read about the Fair Trade message and they believe it.


Why shouldn’t they believe there are enlightened businessed in the First World
who would honor the standard of human-dignity and traditional cultural artistry?

We believed it.

We are not exactly stupid. Still we are village people. We believed Fair Trade and its claims.
We were totally loyal to Fair Trade for more than 20 years, then Fair Trade abandoned us
They do NOT respond to our concerns; artisans have no voice in the Fair Trade any more.
We are told: “If you don’t like it, why don’t you just leave? Who let you in here, anyway?”

“Look, mom! On the Internet. A movement in support of traditional craftspeople!”
“Send them a letter, daughter. Tell them that we are always ready to work for them.”

How many 3rdWorld artisans sent messages, letters and samples to Fair Trade companies?


Postage stamps cost money. To an impoverished artisan who is hopeful and encouraged
by the extensive promotion of Fair Trade that it is a great benefactor to the craftspeople.

Do the Fair Trade companies even open and read the messages of these people who believe
the many publications of Fair Trade claims throughout the Internet, over all these years?


Has any Fair Trade company or the Fair Trade Federation compiled a list of these artisans
who have communicated hopes of obtaining employment selling to the Fair Trade market?
The first ones, and the last ones, to be defrauded by the unscrupulous Fair Trade practices,
are the artisans themselves, individually, or in cooperative association: we are the victims.
Nobody knows or cares what the traditional craftsperson goes through – how, when we
go to the market (as we have), we are scolded that Fair Trade is ‘already’ helping us and
that we were ‘disloyal’ just because we presumed to directly address the USA and Canada?

When Fair Trade was beginning there was an involvement of the native producer groups.
Today, the Fair Trade Movement seems to have been taken over by the commercial elitists who presume to award themselves licenses as benefactors of Third World artisan families.


Why is she smiling? Why aren’t we smiling?

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