A new website launched Thursday aims to helps consumers see how much forced labor is used to make specific products they may buy.
Interest in SlaveryFootprint.org proved overwhelming on its first day. By evening the website was offline with a note saying that the site is switching to servers with more capacity.
The organization attributed the taxed servers to "overwhelming global traffic."
Slavery Footprint works by breaking down consumers' footprint by the products they own and regions where forced labor was likely used in their production, explained Wired.com . Examples include Brazilian men harvesting sugar cane and Congolese boys mining the raw materials used in smartphones.
Wired reported that the non-profit organization launched the survey site to "serve as a wake-up call to consumers unknowingly complicit in slavery."
"We're talking about people that are being forced to work without any pay, under threat of violence,"organization founder Justin Dillon told Wired. "If they do walk away, either they or their family are in physical danger."
The New York Times reported that Slavery Footprint launched the website with funding from the State Department.
The hope is that consumers become enraged enough that they do something about it, such as demanding that companies audit supply chains to try to make sure no "slave labor" is used.
"What we are trying to do is make it so it's not just someone else's business, it's everyone's business," Luis CdeBaca, ambassador at large for the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, told the Times. "There's a horror about it when they figure out what is going on."
The Mother Nature Network blog stated that the website leads to a survey that asks questions focused on topics such as the number of children in a family, whether the family owns a home, how big it is, the type of food they eat and what electronic devices they own.
It gives statistics such as how there are at least 27 million slaves in the world today, more than the populations of Australia and New Zealand combined.
Before developing the lifestyle survey, The Huffington Post reported , Dillon directed the 2008 documentary "Call + Response" and launched Chain Store Reaction, a campaign meant to help customers ask companies about their labor procedures.
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