Two months after the Apple iTunes App Store banned “Phone Story,” a game that exposed the ugly side of smartphone production, a new app and an online calculator reveal how much of a user’s lifestyle runs on forced labor.
If you drive a car, use a laptop or smartphone, wear cotton T-shirts, eat oranges or buy jewelry, the likelihood is that Slavery Footprint will calculate you’re employing a trafficked person or two. The score is calculated based on the raw materials in those products, such as the tantalum used in smartphones, which is often mined by trafficked persons and helps finance civil war in the Congo.
Much of Slavery Footprint works on shock value — telling users that there are more slaves in the world today (27 million) than ever and that most people who use technology have slaves working for them (approximately 8.6).
The app and site don’t blame brands by naming and shaming them, a tactic with mixed results. Instead, they direct users to write their favorite brands, asking them to make their supply chains more transparent, much the way the diamond industry was asked to remove “conflict diamonds” from its supply chain.
Apple has not yet removed the app, despite the survey’s damning math: 3.2 slaves are used to make each smartphone.