I heard on the radio on my way into work that today Chicago is celebrating World Fair Trade Day and it got me thinking.. what about fair trade sex toys?
Sure we are concerned where our chocolate is made and if slave labor made our pants, but really,very few folks ask about sex toys in the same way. I have yet to come across any sex toys or accessories that are Fair Trade Certified, but I can tell you about some things that are made in a way that fits most folks ideas of Fair Trade.
But to start with, it must be said that for the most part, if it vibrates, it is made in China*. Even your fancy pants high-end stuff is produced in a country not known for their fair labor practices and I’d love to see these companies make statements about their labor practices. Do they know how employees are treated in the factories? Are they making living wages? Are they properly protected? Consumer clamoring for safer materials caused a huge shift in the industry over the past few years, so maybe if we start speaking up about labor practices we can get sex toy makers to listen and respond. Wouldn’t that $10 Silver Bullet or that $139 Mona be a more satisfying purchase if we knew more about the folks responsible for making it? I know I get more satisfaction eating my Fair Trade chocolate than I do eating Hershey’s.
Now if we take things that turn on out of the equation, we can find lots of great sexy stuff that I know is made by smaller companies who’s labor practices I have more reason to trust to be fair (especially since some of them are small time 1-2 person operations). I’m thrilled that I can count the maker of the Form and Function line of StPs among folks I know and adore. As well as the brains and brawn behind New York Toy Collective who make the lovely and talented Shilo dildo. The maker of our stellar massage candles and oil, SeaGrape Soap is a one-person shop concocting everything by hand. When you get an Aslan harness you are getting a hand-made item that is created in a small owner-run shop in Canada. And Vixen creations is a boutique operation making dildos by hand right here in the US. We also love the artisan pieces that come to us from BS Atelier , a small studio in Spain.
This is by far a non-exhaustive list of the makers of toys and accessories that I would call feel-good manufacturing (things that I am pretty damn sure are made in a non-exploitative manner) but they are some of my personal favorites . I’d love to hear feedback from folks who know about the practices of other companies and their manufacturing. Who pays more than minimum wage to the folks on the dildo pouring line? Who makes sure their non-US plant is safe and good for their workers? I’m gonna start doing more digging into this and I’d love love feedback from makers of sex stuff as well as anyone who may know more! Lets start a fair trade sex toy revolution and begin to hold this industry accountable for labor and environmental practices!
Peace and good lovin’
*Notable exceptions include Fun Factory which is made in Germany and Vibratex which are manufactured in Japan AND the PRC. I do not believe that JUST because something is stamped Made in China that it is bad or that if it not made there it is automatically good, but it bares pointing that pretty much everything that vibrates is made in China.