February 29, 2012

Giveaways for Good


Three Hearts DVD (3/6)
This giveaway is for a movie about people working to save the lives of three Mongolian children with life-threatening heart defects.  I think that's a giveaway for good just based on what's being given away!

Don't you just love when people get together to do a giveaway AND give to charity.  Here's a few giveaways like that.

Tom's Ballet Flats (3/2)
This free giveaway earned $100 for Autism


Mango Tree Tank Dress (3/22)
Mango Tree supports artisans from impoverished and conflict-ridden areas.

If you know of another giveaway for Fair Trade items, I'm happy to share it!  Please submit it here.

February 27, 2012

Hearts Should Be Free Update

Hearts Should Be FreeWow!  There's just a couple days left to Hearts Should Be Free and  I am so excited and moved by the response.  I wanted to let everyone know they have a few more days to enter the giveaways (today's the last day to enter the Linky Volunteer $5 Amazon giveaway, so don't miss that).  I also wanted to let you know I've added more extra entry options to all but the Amazon giveaway.  Those extra entries are for...

1. Singing up to be notifies of next years event
2. Signing up to help with next years event

Yep, that's right.  I plan to make this an annual thing!  Next year I plan to involve others more.  I'll be letting other blogs host some of the giveaways, and doing a broader search for giveaway sponsors.  And of course I'll need people to help promote, and to help typo check.  So if you're interested, go to any giveaway still open you've already entered and sign up, or if you don't care about the extra entries, just e-mail me at ecarian at yahoo dot com.

February 22, 2012

Hearts Should Be Free - Map Earrings

For this Hearts Should Be Free Giveaway I wanted to give away something map related.  Not having a lot to spend, I found some rolled map beads on Etsy for $1, and made these out of them and some beads I already had.  Not bad, I say!

Oh, and, I have to share the envelope Sarah Pepper sent the beads in....I mean isn't that cool!  (Sorry, cool envelope not included with giveaway).

Anyways, the reason I wanted to make this giveaway map themed is because slavery happens everywhere. When I first learned about slavery, I didn't realize that it happened here in American.  But right here in America there have been men beaten and locked in a truck trailer and forced to pick tomotoes, women forced to braid hair in a salon and not allowed to leave, others forced into prostitution against their will.  And that's just the short list.  Modern slavery, known as human trafficking, happens in places like Canada and the United Kindom, not just third world countries.

But wherever you live, whether here or across the world, I wanted to show you just how close slavery comes!

To enter to win, visit http://www.slaverymap.org.   Find your country or state, and click where you think your city is.  Find the closest incident (marked by an orange exclamation...or by a number if there are more than one incident).  Pick one incident near where you live, open it up, and read it.  Then share in the rafflecopter below a detail from the incident.

Remember, these are only the incidents reported to Slavery Map and confirmed.  There are other incidents of slavery which don't show up on this map.  But it gives you an idea of the scope.  The nearest incident to me was about an hour away.  The victim was a 19-year-old woman who had been kept in a Texas hotel for 3 days and forced to have sex with four men.  She found a way to call family at home, and they called the police who rescued her.   This happened in 2010.

Click below to see the full incident:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hearts Should Be Free - Tiggy's House Bracelet

Would you like to win this beautiful bracelet from Tiggy's House? It's one I bought that was a little loose (but then I have small hands, so it should fit most people).  This giveaway is part of the Hearts Should Be Free Giveaway event to raise awareness of the up to 27 million people currently enslaved. 

At Tiggy's House Etsy Shop you'll find beautiful handmade jewelery. You'll also find a vision....a vision to help children who have been abused in the child sex trafficking industry; to give them a home and a place to heal.

Tiggy's House is named after Dana Harvey's young son, who died at 21 months of age.   It is also the name that will be given to the children's home she is raising  funds to build through Tiny Hands International, an organization which helps child victims of sex trafficking.    100% of the profits from her shop go to support this project. 

Here's a picture I took of this bracelet on my arm:

Pretty, isn't it? Just perfect for St. Patrick's Day with that cool Celtic Kotwork (a Josephine knot to be specific).

First read this CNN article on human trafficking (you don't have to watch the videos that are interspersed), then enter the Rafflecopter form below.   There are more things you can do for extra entries, but they're not required.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hearts Should Be Free

February 21, 2012

Bills in Congress Related to Human Trafficking

I would never tell someone how to vote, and just because a bill is about traffricking doesn't mean it's a good one (a bad bill can be worse than a good bill sometimes)...but I thought with the focus here on of Human Trafficking this month I'd like to let you know about some bills going through congress:

H.R. 2982: Human Trafficking Reporting Act
To amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to include human trafficking as a part 1 violent crime for purposes of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.
Weigh in at https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr2982

S. 1259: Trafficking Victims Enhanced Protection Act of 2011
A bill to amend the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 to prohibit the provision of peacekeeping operations assistance to governments of countries that recruit and use child soldiers.
Weigh in at https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/s1259

Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act (HR 2730)
Improves the child welfare response to trafficking by strengthening the child welfare system to identify, document, and counsel children at risk of exploitation.
Weigh in at https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr2730

E-SAFETI Task Force Act (HR 2801)
Establishes a task force for the purpose of studying and making recommendations to prevent and combat internet-facilitated human trafficking.
Weigh in at https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr2801

Human Trafficking Reporting Act (HR 2982)
Includes human trafficking as a "part 1 violent crime" for purposes of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.
Weigh in at https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr2982

HRes 508
Supporting the goals and ideals of International Day for the Abolition of Slavery and recognizing the 10th anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
Weigh in at https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hres508

Jaime Zapata Border Enforcement Security Task Force Act (HR 915) Establishes a Border Enforcement Security Task Force program to enhance border security by fostering coordinated efforts among Federal, State, and local border and law enforcement officials to protect U.S border cities and communities from trans-national crime, including illegal alien trafficking and smuggling, violence, and kidnapping along and across the international borders of the U.S.
Weigh in at https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr915

International Megan's Law (HR 3253)
Protects children from sexual exploitation by mandating reporting requirements for convicted sex traffickers and other registered sex offenders against minors intending to engage in international travel, providing advance notice of intended travel by high interest registered sex offenders outside the U.S. to the government of the country of destination, requesting foreign governments to notify the U.S. when a known child sex offender is seeking to enter the U.S.
Weigh in at https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr3253

Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S 1301 and HR 2830)
Authorizes appropriations for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, and enhances measures to combat trafficking in persons.
Weigh in at https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/s1301 and https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr2830

I don't think I have any problems with these bills (though I haven't read all of them completely yet), except that I think that the E-SAFETI Task Force Act should include more  people technically proficient in computer programming (like at least one specifically delegated who has those stilll and who will have the ability to assign at least two more...so as to avoid the type of fiasco that SOPA and PIPA was and to better take advantage of technology in fighting this problem.  That's one of the things I wrote my congressman about.

February 16, 2012

Hearts Should Be Free - Scribbleprints Stationery (2/29)

I've been holding giveaways to raise awareness of modern slavery.   This giveaway is for 20 pages of the stationery shown above.

 When I first learned about slavery, I didn't realize that it happened here.  Right here in America there have been men beaten and locked in a truck trailer and forced to pick tomotoes, women forced to braid hair in a salon and not allowed to leave, others forced into prostitution against their will.  And that's just the short list.  Modern slavery, known as human trafficking, happens in places like Canada and the United Kindom, not just third world countries.

One thing we can do is be aware...know the signs.   Here are just a few signs that someone might be a victim of human trafficking.
  • Shows signs of abuse (bruises, injuries, untreated medical problems)
  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents 
  • Does not control of his/her own income--has no financial records or bank account.
  • Lives in the same place he/she works
  • Workplace or living place has heavy security (bars on windows, barbed wire, isolated location, etc)
  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
Read More Signs Here - Or Here

If you suspect that someone is is a victim of human trafficking, you can call  the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline below:


Or to e-mail visit this page!


To enter add the phone number above to your contact list or write it down and put it in your wallet, then fill out the rafflecopter form below.  Sometimes the form take a minute or two to load.  There's extra entries too!

I am going to be selling some of the stationery above and donate the proceeds to an organization which fights modern slavery or helps human trafficking victims.  I havn't yet decided on the organization or the price, and need to check on how much shipping would be.  If you would be interested in being notified when I get this posted up for sale, please e-mail me at ecarian at yahoo com or leave a comment with you e-mail below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Hello, and welcome fellow Squido Lensmasters! For those who aren't travelling here by blog hop and don't know what Squidoo is, it's just a place where you can make nifty little web pages about any topic you choose, and maybe earn a little money for yourself or a charity in the process.

This month I've been holding an event on this blog to spread awareness of modern slavery (human trafficking).  So, I was so happy to see a new charity on Squidoo that deals specifically with human trafficking:  Promise of HopeSee all 10 new charity partners added this month here.

Another charity on Squidoo which has programs dealing with child trafficking is Save the Children

Question for Squidooers
Anyone have a Spring Themed Quest?  I'm still looking for a lens to like for the Spring Fever Quest.  I've already gotten one for the "Grouch" quest.  If you need one for that, this might work:

(Lots of Grouching Going On Here)

Win What I Won

Robby Wash Laundry Ball

I love the Robby Wash Ball I won!  It's been nearly a year and its' still going strong.  What a lot of money this can save (not to mention space)!  Here's some places you can enter to win one:

Neat-Oh Zip Bins

These play-mats you can fold into bins are so cool!  They have backpacks too!   So great for keeping the room clean (or providing easy clean up play at grandma's ). 

Zip Bin - Mom After God's Own Heart (2/27)

Easy Wins: Low Entry Giveaways

The cool thing about blog giveaways is you can usually tell now many people are entered. The less entered, the better your chances to win. Here's some I found with low entries ending soon.

February 16 

February 17

*Yeah, I usually only list items under 60 comments, but I reserve the right to break my own rules.
If you have a giveaway with less than 60 entries per prize ending in the next 5 days, please click here to submit it

Please Also Visit Our Giveaway Event
to spread awareness about modern slavery!

Hearts Should Be Free

February 14, 2012

Hearts Should Be Free - 3G Cell Phone Case Giveaway

I won the 3G iPhone cell phone case from CafePress pictures above in a giveaway last year. Never used it and thought it would be a great item to give away for the Hearts Should Be Free event.

Hearts Should Be Free is a giveaway event to spread awareness of modern slavery.  Many people don't realize that slavery still exists today, yet there are as many as 27 million people enslaved today around the world.

Today I want to talk about how slave labor contributes to many of the products we find on our store shelves.  Sadly, forced labor contributes to many of the products we use and much of the produce that we buy. In recent years slave labor has been used for making clothes, for mining diamonds, mining gold and other minerals (including those used in our electronics),  farming coffee beans and cocoa, harvesting tomatoes (right here in America), and many, many other areas of farming and manufacturing.

I want to be clear...it isn't that companies go out and seek out slave labor.  But poor monitoring of a company's supply chain can allow forced labor to"sneak in" to the supply chain unnoticed. However, when large companies put in mechanisms to monitor and improve the working conditions throughout their supply chain, it can have a huge impact.

Since this giveaway is for an iPhone case (and I'll assume if you're entering you have an iphone), I'd like to share a couple related aps you can download to your phone.

The Fair Trade App
When you buy Fair Trade you know that you are buying a product that provides a living wage to workers all down the supply chain and that monitors it's working conditions.   This also helps guarantee that these products are not made with the work of slaves.  The Fair Trade App helps you find Fair Trade items near you, and allows you to help build their database by adding fair trade items you find for sale in your area. 

The Free2Work App
This app allows you to look up products to see how they rate on to trafficking and other labor abuses. Though it only has a few hundred products listed so far, and though the bar code scanning is a little buggy, I still like this app as it allows you to browse companies by category to see their rating, and so is a great way to find some of the companies who are already doing things to help rid their supply chain of slavery. 
I'd also encourage you to visit Chain Store Reaction, a website where you can write letters to companies urging them to take a stand against slavery, and can see their responses.

I'd also like to point you towards a couple articles related to Apple and it's labor policies....

Should Apple Make a Conflict Free Minerals iPhone
Slavery is rampant in the Congo, where revenue from the mines funds the militias which are a war there.  This Forbes article questions whether abstaining from buying conflict minerals is the best course of action, and highlights the complexities of this issue well.

Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory
While this program by This American Life (through NPR) is NOT about slavery, I felt it was relavant and wanted to include it.  This three act look at labor policies in China is EXCELLENT and, yes, even entertaining.  This program is in three section, or "acts, " which can be listened to together or separately.  While it doesn't deal with slavery directly (all the workers in the factory Mr. Daisey visited were payed a salary and could quit any time they wanted) it does highlight the importance of workplace monitoring, and the third act contains insightful commentary on workers rights and labor conditions around the world.

Now, on to the giveaway...

Just fill out the entry form below.  Giveaway ends February 29.  Open worldwide, 18+ only.  Form may take a minute or two to load.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hearts Should Be Free

February 13, 2012

Fair Trade Chocholate Giveaways

chocolate coffee

This month I've been working to spread awareness of modern slavery through the Hearts Should Be Free Giveaway event.  Many people don't realize that slave labor contributes to many of the products we buy.  One of these is chocolate.

With Valentines coming up, it's sad to know that the cocoa in the chocolate we'll enjoy that day may have grown and harvested with slave labor.  And though the chocolate industry is beginning to step up, there's still a long way to go.

Buying Fair Trade chocolate is one way to help.  It supports companies who are already taking extra efforts to keep their supply chain slave free, and when they thrive, larger companies take note. 

I thought I'd track down some Fair Trade Chocolate giveaways going on in the blogosphere and share them with you...it's a fun way to get to know about some of the fair trade options out there!  A lot of these are low entry too!

Fair Trade Chocolate Giveaways
Organized by End Date

Ends February 17
The Body Shop Chocomania Gift Package
(Ok, so this chocolate is not to eat...
but it would make a chocholaty spa experience,
and doescontain fair trade items!)

Ends February 20
Whole Foods Chocolate Treats (Canada Only)

End Date Unknown
Dark Chocholate Quinoa
Fair Trade Rose Bouquet an Chocolate
Alter Echo Fair Trade Chocolate Quinoa Bar 

Looking for a Fair Trade Chocolate at your local store?
Click here for an excellent article about the labels you may see
on chocolate (and other products...the article is actually about cofee)
and what they mean.)

And here's some more info about regular vs. fair trade chocolate:

Infographic by Fair Trade Vancouver and ethical ocean.

Creative Commons Chocolate Pictures by Hayouji. 

The Chocolate Industry Begans to Step Up

Several years ago a friend posted a link about how slavery contributes to much of the chocolate sold in stores today.  It opened my eyes to labor slavery.

Since then many companies have made strides to change their practices to reduce slave labor in their supply chains.  One hold-out was Hersheys.  Well, late in January Hersheys made their first step towards addressing this problem.  They have made a commitment to purchase Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa for all of its Bliss Chocolate products, starting later this year.  While this is just one product, and this specific certification only requires 30% of the cocoa beans in a certified product to be fair trade...its still a step in the right direction.

Hersheys is following the lead of other companies which have made earlier steps, including...
  • Nestle has hired the Fair Labor Association, and organization which  specializes in accountability, to investigate and document child labor on the farms of it's cocoa suppliers. NestlĂ© is the first food company to open up its supply chain to the FLA.  Read More Here.
  • Mars committed to certify its Maltesers chocolate candy as Fairtrade in the UK and Ireland in 2012.  While this is only one candy, this candy is the third largest brand in the UK and represents a 10% increase in total UK Fairtrade sales there. Read more here.
  • Barry Callebaut introduced three new fair trade chocolates into the US market in December 2011.  Read more here.
  • Unilever announced that it will use Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa for its Magnum Ice Cream by 2015.  From Article Here
  • Ben and Jerry's, another Unilever brand, announced that it intends to get  Fair Trade Certification for all flavors for all products where fair trade certification is possible by 2013.  From Article Here

In other good news, California passed a new law to bring more transparency to business supply chains.

    February 10, 2012

    Charitable Gift Guide

    Every week I  showcases a  treasury of charitable gifts sold on etsy.  Below you will find a guide to these treasuries.  You can search gifts by gender, age, color and more.   Remember that older treasuries may have items that have already been sold, but you can check the shop to see if they are currently selling something similar.  


    By Price

    By Recipient
    By Color
    By Season

    Find more charitable gifts here.


    February 3, 2012

    Easy Wins

    The cool thing about blog giveaways is you can usually tell now many people are entered. The less entered, the better your chances to win. Here's some I found with low entries ending soon.

    Ends February 4

    Love Banner (2 entered)  

    Celtic Woman (17 entered)*

    $15 Loopy Loop GC  (16 entered)

    Ends February 7

    Valentines Bundle (36 entered)

    Ends February 8

    4 X 6 Art Print (33 entered)

     *I got extra entries for blogging about starred giveaways.

    If you have a giveaway with less than 60 entries per prize ending in the next 5 days, please click here to submit it

    Please Also Visit Our Giveaway Event
    to spread awareness about modern slavery!

    Hearts Should Be Free

    (Added to Easy Wins Blog List)

    February 2, 2012

    Aloha Friday/2 Question Thursday

    Every once and a while I participate in Aloha Friday, where I ask a simple question for you to answer (nothing that requires a lengthy response) and Two Question Thursday (same idea...only TWO questions).   My questions for you today (which you can answer in the comments if you like ) are:

    • There are many problem in the world, and many good causes we can support.  Is there a particular cause which is on your heart? 
    •  What have you done about it...or what do you plan to do?

    There are various causes which I care about.  If you've been following my blog at all the last couple weeks you can probably guess which one "gets to me" the most.  When I first learned that slavery still existed I was horrified...but it was something "far away" and I was a poor college student and didn't see what I could do.  Surprisingly I didn't hear more about this issue for several years...but then I started to stumble on articles here and there.  I learned that it was very widespread...and that it didn't just happen across the world but that it happened here.  I learned that men in Florida had been beaten and locked in a truck and forced to pick tomatoes for nothing, that women and young girls are forced to prostitute themselves by violent pimps on US streets daily, that 1,000s are trafficked into the US every year for forced work of one sort or another.  I learned that forced labor (here and abroad) contributes  to almost every product we buy.  And I learned about the horrors of child sex trafficking, and how American pediphiles helped fuel the "sex tourism" industry in Asia.

    I thought of what I could do, and I came up with an idea to use giveaways to spread awareness.  In stead of asking someone to go check out a product to enter, I'd ask them to check out some info on human trafficking.   I put this idea into practice this month in the Hearts Should Be Free Giveaway Event.  And the response I've gotten is so encouraging.  More people have entered these giveaways than any I've held here before, and the comments let me know people are really hearing.

    So, whatever it is that's the cause of your heart....I want to encourage you that you can do something about it.  Being part of the solution is not out of reach. 

    February 1, 2012

    Ongoing/Perpetual Giveaway Linky Lists

    Thanks so much Hearts Should Be Free Volunteers for helping with this!   To submit a giveaway to these, just fill out the form at these links (usually at the bottom of each post) with the info I e-mailed you with.  If a linky is missing or closed just move on to the next.  Thanks!

    Picture Linkies
    Text Linkies
    1. The Steady Hand
    2. Money Saving Mom 
    3. Chick Monkey
    4. Family Focus Blog 
    5. US/Japan Fam 
    6. Cuzinlogic
    7. A Lot of Goodies
    8. Can Contests (must be open to Canadians)
    9. Frugal Tips and Freebies
    10. The Savings Wife
    11. Dustin Nikki
    12. Finger Click Saver