When is "fair trade" not fair at all?
The 17-minute documentary Recycled Huipiles: Unraveling Traditions? is a revealing look into the lives of Mayan women in Guatemala, the 3,500-year-old craft of backstrap loom weaving, and how their poverty is being exploited by some under the guise of “fair trade.” Available as a YouTube video, this is a must-watch for conscious consumers who believe they are helping support an indigenous community. But as wholesalers take advantage of family need to buy the traditionally woven garments, some of which take as much as six months to create, the women fear their culture is being lost.
Yet some companies, including Genesis Fair Trade, believe in working directly with the artisans and paying them fair prices for their work. As one of the producers of Recycling Huipiles states, “We as consumers can shape this story’s ending.” Find the video here: