This idea for this thread was sparked by Kazsioned's post on the DGC forum about working conditions in some of the countries whose cultures we are so interested in. It's easy to get fairly traded items nowadays but are we still too ready to exploit the peoples of places such as Afghanistan, India and Morocco for our hobby? Heirloom jewellery is being sold for a pittance in Afghanistan by mothers who can't feed their children and it's winding up being sold for thirty, forty or fifty quid a piece in the west. Is this exploitation? Do you always ensure that the items you buy from India are guaranteed NOT to have been made by school age children. I'd like to know how other people feel about this and, if you have any relevant links, please post them here
Unfortunatly because the 'Belly Dance' market is such a small niche of industry it is very difficult to find vendors who work within Fair Trade standards. As a sole trader of ethnic & belly dance goods I do strive to use wholesaler's who do adopt fair trade practices. I think the strongest statements that we as dancers can make to suppliers is that we are not willing to buy thier goods until we are assured that exploitation of craftspeople is not taking place. Another strong indication of exploitive goods is being very inexpensive & cheaply made. Look instead for items that are made to order. You pay more, but the quality is better & more likely to be made by professional tailors who are paid a decent wage.