How many slaves work for you?

If you haven’t seen the Slavery Footprint site (, you should. I had my 7th graders to this survey, as we started our unit on the causes of the Civil War. Slavery seems like such a distant concept to most of us. This site surveys your consumption of various goods, how big your house is, etc., and then tabulates how many slaves work in the production chain of your stuff. Selected responses from my students follow:

I was very surprised that so many slaves worked for me. To be honest I though that there were no more slaves, I knew there were bad work situations, but I didn’t think there were slaves. Overall I thought that it was very very shocking.

Ahhhhhhh! That’s crazy! I am mad at slave owners!

I was glad that I didn’t have to much technology.  But when I thought about it I felt a little bad about it, but then when I went to school I wanted to be the one with the most slaves.  I feel like that’s how people felt like would you rather impress your friends or be left out and have no slaves!!!

I had 41 slaves working for me. This kind of scared me to know that there were that many slaves for each person in the world. That is a lot of slaves. The product that most effected me having so many slaves was that I had towls and a bedroom. It said that towels were woven by hand.

I had 49 slaves working for me. I thought this was really surprising because in the amendments it’s says that slavery has been abolished but..there’s still slavery.

I was very surprised and upset that 94 slaves worked for me. I didn’t realize how bad slavery was, even now, in 2013.

I think that it is saddening that there is still slavery in the world most of which we didn’t know about. The way to avoid this is hard because they make the things that make life easier.

I was surprised. I was surprised because that is a lot of people that are suffering because we have a couple thing from different places.

I am amazed that there are that many slaves working for me.  Up until yesterday I thought that I had nothing to do with slaves.  Despite hating slavery I technically own 37 slaves.

I had 53 slaves and I thought that was very sad because I don’t like slavery but in fact I’m supporting it. It’s really interesting that buying things from regular stores here is still associated with slavery.


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