September 22nd, 2011
04:57 PM ET

What is your 'slavery footprint'?

According to estimates by policymakers, activists and scholars the number of modern day slaves ranges from about 10 million to 30 million people.

But how many of those slaves work for you? Now that is the unsettling question being posed by a new online tool and mobile app. It's called Slavery Footprint. It's the latest initiative from the anti-slavery Call + Response campaign in partnership with the U.S. State Department.

It allows consumers to measure to what extent they are complicit in the use of forced labor around the world. (Learn more about the tool and technology's "slavery" problem from

CNN talked to Justin Dylan, who leads the Call + Response campaign, for more information about the app.

CNN: What do you hope to achieve with the Slavery Footprint app?

DYLAN: Well, with Slavery Footprint what we didn't want to do is create another calculator that only spits out bad news. What I believe is that people carry around stories and not necessarily statistics. So with Slavery Footprint we actually wanted to be able to tell you the story of your life and how it fits in with the globalized economy.

Today, slavery is worse now than it ever was before, but most people have a hard time of understanding how it affects their lives. Slavery footprint is the first chapter for most people in understanding how it directly affects their lives, but most importantly about what they can do to change it.

CNN: Now you worked with the U.S. State Department to create this app. What kind of support did they give you?

DYLAN: Well, they were phenomenal not only in their sharing of knowledge, but they helped the beginning of the funding of the app and really were able to use a lot of their relational equity to be able to bring the right kind of experts and stakeholders to bare on this.

The technology that we've created and the algorithm that we've created around Slavery Footprint is a very vetted and multi-stakeholder approach where we're able to use vetted data to be able to determine the slavery in different types of products that we use every day while being very brand agnostic. We don't go after any particular brand, we're talking about different types of products that you use every day, which is very important.

CNN: Now this new app, it follows the Call + Response app as well as your documentary of the same name. So do you feel that consumers are taking notice? Do you feel that the concept of buying slave free is really gaining traction now?

DYLAN: Well, I think we're getting there. I think we've just lit the fuse on the rocket. What's really going to make the rocket take off is if a consumer start to embed the story of other people who are being exploited to produce their lifestyles. If consumers can start to absorb that, that story into their lives, and more importantly amplify that story in the marketplace.

Topics: Solutions • Technology

soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Cornell

    Nobody cares about this.smh we rather spend time worrying about what charlie sheen is doing

    September 22, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Reply
    • patian

      Wow, you hit the nail on the head. So sad, but so true.

      September 23, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Reply
    • Penny Lane

      Bread and Circuses.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Reply
    • Nash

      Isn't making money off of an anti-slavery app for a phone the same as making money off of slavery? This should be absolutely FREE!

      September 30, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Reply
    • walesr14

      My English class is currently working on a modern slavery. If you have a minute please visit our site at We have created videos to help spread the word and tell people how they can reduce their slavery footprint.

      October 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Reply
  2. Christianna

    It's better rich countries give up luxury lifestyles and export teachers of all academic fields to educate poor countries' youth. It used to be a few rich who ransacked the planet but now billions of humans doing it our planet cannot be sustained.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:37 am | Reply
    • Denny

      So true.
      1% of the world population owns 47% of world wealth and resources, while 50% of the world population shares about 3% of wealth and resources. The rich will never give up their priviliges. There is not enough resources for all population to have the same power and food consumption as rich classes. The rich are paying poor to fight for their lifestyle and corrupt them by infiltrating their own culture into their poor countries.

      September 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Reply
      • ME

        Beg pardon, but not following the math.
        – 01% own 47% of "wealth" and resources. Okay.
        – 50% share 03% of "wealth" and resources. Okay.
        Where is the other 50% of wealth and resources?
        Is half the world (the 01% plus the unlisted 49%) doing just fine?
        Please clarify. VR

        September 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
      • Denny

        100% – (1%+50%) = 49% ... is the rest of the rest of the world population. Their share is:
        100% – (47%+3%) = 50% ... of the world resources.
        So 50% is doing just fine, but 49% is doing not so fine and they want to have the same share as the others. But the world does not have enough for all to have the same share as the upper half (and certainly not as the top 1%). That's why those at the top are against redistribution of the resources – they would have to give up something. It is quiite predictable that someone will call me a communist.

        September 29, 2011 at 6:34 am |
      • Mike de Fleuriot

        You remember when the playing field was level? It was not that long ago, only a short 800 years or so. It was called the Dark Ages.

        That 1% of the world who own everything, actually knows how to make things run, you know the things you expect in your daily life.

        September 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
      • Denny

        That 1% know well how to run the world for their own benefit. From dark ages they colonized the world, they were bringing slaves in shackles to labour for them, they destroyed the countries they colonized, installed corrupt governments, they are still milking those countries once set their foot in. And if they do not obey they use their propaganda and their powerful armies to bring them back in line. All this in the name of democracy, progress and peace.
        We are used to take as much as we can. But it does not mean that we need to. On one side there are huge numbers dying from hunger, on the other side there are huge numbers fighting obesity. The field is not level (and it has never been) but we should learn to live on every part of it so that we leave enough space and resources for others.
        In dark ages they would call inquisition on me ...

        September 30, 2011 at 6:45 pm |

    Slavery can be under hypnosis.

    September 24, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Reply


    September 24, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  5. meese1960

    How many slaves work for CNN?

    September 24, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  6. Brock

    What does it take to get justice for William B. Brock the Volkswagen executive that was murdered for joining the $70 million dollar class action discrimination lawsuit against the automaker...? Please take a look at the NY Times article... Then view the following and please help expose corporate cover-up and murder... and let's get Justice For William B. Brock. It was known that Mr. Brock received threats on his and his families life from Volkswagen and after he died the $70 million dollar lawsuit faded away. But law enforcement refuses to investigate the facts.

    September 25, 2011 at 3:17 am | Reply
  7. Will

    We are all sinners.

    September 26, 2011 at 12:40 am | Reply
  8. mike21954

    I don;t know what mine is, but it's better be HUGE!

    I drink coffee, smoke cigars, burn imported wood in my fireplace, drive a car that gets 9 miles to the gallon, and live, alone, in a 6 bedroom 3,500 square-foot oil heated house, with no insulation in the walls or cealing and all I use are incandescent bulbs.

    Did I mention I don't own a single Energy Star rated appliance and have a 7-foot charcoal grill?

    September 27, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Reply
    • PD

      "Slavery footprint."

      I do not think it means what you think it means.

      September 29, 2011 at 8:22 am | Reply
  9. jay

    I personally refuse to feel guilt for the sensitivities of leftists who in reality want me to be at slave level myself.

    September 27, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Reply
    • Leiden Centraal

      Denial is easier than acceptance bro

      October 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Reply
  10. Some Guy

    So – how about an expose? I've heard rumors that Apple's primary supplier in China has the highest incident of suicide among factory workers worldwide. So – get that information, and publicize it. Which American companies are taking advantage of slave labor? No one knows. No one can even guess. And, almost no one cares, as long as they can get their shiny pretties cheap, cheap cheap!

    September 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Reply

    new or old news for everybody. WE ALL ARE SLAVE IN THE SYSTEM. VOTE RON PAUL FOR 20012

    October 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Reply
    • Ron Paul, Man of the Future

      I can't wait 18,000 years for Ron Paul. Can't he run next year instead?

      October 3, 2011 at 7:45 am | Reply
      • rc roeder


        October 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  12. dminyard

    I wish I had more faith that movements like this will have lasting impact. I hope so. As consumers we demand low prices and market availability, and although so many will feel a sense of outrage and a rush of desire to do something, if real, meaningful change meant we would have to give up or pay a significant premium for our iPhones or iPads or (insert product you feel you can't live without) it will never gain the necessary momentum. We are not rational creatures, we are rationalizing creatures who will always find a way to justify the means to achieve our ends.

    October 2, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Reply
  13. Richard Wisecarver

    Slavery has an ancient history going back over 4,000 years. War captives, debters, criminals, unwanted children, political losers, and other sources have long provided a source of markable slaves for the local, regional, and world wide market. It is an evil trade that creates social and economic destruction where ever it is found or its efeects are found. Most of the colonies in West Africa were founded to destroy this trade. The Sudan and Somalia were occupied primarily to stop that slave trade to the Middle East and North Africa that continued into the 20th cent. What do you think the vilence in Darfur is all about. Get your facts straight. Slavery as a horror continues under many guises thru out the world-use the truth to stop it. Few nations are totally free of this horror.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:25 am | Reply
  14. Ape Lincoln

    When you go to a store to buy goods, and the only good to buy are made by slaves then what else are you going to feed your family. Time will tell you that sometimes you don't have a choice to survive. If you people want to end world slavery then burn all establishments that sell slave labor goods, kill any man who peddles items made from blood. To stop this will only take radical change and nothing less.

    October 3, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Reply
  15. Mike

    The same people who wrote this article said, we don't want to name the companies who are using slave labor to produce their goods! Really....then how are we going to stop buying their goods and make them change how they produce them! Sounds like more liberal Lip Service to me! You want to tell me it's my fault that slaves are being used but offer a solution that blames no one! I call BS!!!!

    November 30, 2011 at 4:29 am | Reply
  16. Mike

    I don't shop at any of the places you mentioned David B. Are you connected with a Union?? Aren't Union Members slaves to the Union? LaborRights.Org has done nothing that I'm aware of to stop Slavery.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:44 am | Reply
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    Help us to EXPOSE CORPORATE COVER-UP & GET a New York Times article reads "Bias Suit Made Grimmer By Suicide." It should read "Bais Suit Made Grimmer By Homicide." Because the article doesn't mention that Mr. Brock was LEFT HANDED man shot in the BACK of the RIGHT side of his head after joining a $70 million dollar class action discrimination lawsuit against Volkswagen where he himself had the bulk of the damaging info against Volkswagen... Does that sound like suicide to you..? Stevie Wonder could see this man was murdered..!!!

    September 11, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Reply
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