Thomson Reuters Foundation ‘Unboxes the Truth’ Behind Sneakers


Thomson Reuters Foundation / Unboxing the Truth / Jacques Slade May 2018

The Thomson Reuters Foundation has just released a new campaign, “Unbox the Truth,” that aims to raise awareness about modern slavery and human rights abuses in the supply chain of popular products such as trendy sneakers, and to look at the human price of the products that we buy.

Unboxing the Truth / Thomson Reuters Foundation

To do so, TRF created a custom-made shoebox, packaging and pair of shoes with hidden (and surprising) facts about modern slavery to symbolize forced labor in fashion supply chains.

Unboxing the Truth / Thomson Reuters Foundation

Unboxing the Truth / Thomson Reuters Foundation

Unboxing the Truth / Thomson Reuters Foundation

Unboxing the Truth / Thomson Reuters Foundation

The next step—bringing the messages to life by sending them to a popular YouTuber and social media influencer to literally unwrap and decode the messages for other fans behind a subject matter—sneakers—in which he’s an expert. Or so he thought, until he learns the full story and background to his passion.

Thomson Reuters Foundation / Unboxing the Truth / Jacques Slade May 2018

The package was sent to professional sneaker ‘unboxer’ Jacques Slade, whose YouTube channel reaches 856,000 subscribers (and many more sneakerheads, virally, beyond that) every day unboxing the latest and trendiest shoes.

What happened when he ‘unboxed the truth’ was captured in this video produced by TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, which created the sneakers and message-laden packaging for Slade:

A Call to Action

The video’s call to action is to raise funds and awareness for the foundation’s work, including its annual Trust Conference taking place in London in November. The conference’s goal: “finding real solutions to fight slavery, empower women and advance human rights worldwide. The annual event convenes global corporations, lawyers, government representatives and pioneers at the forefront of the fight for human rights.”

As the Thomson Reuters Foundation comments about its month-long campaign tied to Slade’s “Unboxing the Truth” video:

The trendy sneakers in the video were not made by slaves. But chances are that some of the products you own actually are. Slavery is a hugely profitable criminal business, one estimated to be worth $150 billion a year. That’s three times the earnings of Apple, the world’s most profitable company.

To put this in perspective: if slavery were a country it would have the population of Algeria, the GDP of Bulgaria, and would be the world’s largest emitter of CO2 after China and the USA. The Thomson Reuters Foundation plays a key role in the fight against slavery.

We raise awareness of this scourge through our news, we train journalists around the world to cover the issue, we provide free legal assistance and powerful legal research to anti-slavery organisations on the frontlines, and we bring together all the key players in the global fight against modern slavery at our annual Trust Conference.

Help us step up the fight against slavery and trafficking. If every viewer of Jacques’ video donates just $1*, this is what your money could go towards:

-Conduct one groundbreaking media investigation on slavery.
-Train and mentor 100 journalists in countries with a high prevalence of slavery.·
-Bring 100 frontline activists to the Trust Conference and provide them with key skills to make their organisations more effective and sustainable.

(*Estimates are based on a fundraising target of $1 million. If the target is not fully achieved, funding from the Unboxing the Truth campaign will be spent on a pro-rata basis on the same programmatic work.)

Building ‘Trust’

While it has a ways to go to achieve $1 million, with about $350.00 (£264.32) from 24 donors at this writing, it’s a noble cause by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Thomson Reuters, which calls itself the world’s leading source of news and information for professional markets.

The foundation runs free programs to promote the highest standards in journalism and spread excellence in the practice of legal pro bono worldwide. In choosing Jacques Slade as its influencer to help spread the word on the supply chain and potential human rights abuses behind pricey sneakers, the Thomson Reuters Foundation has chosen a popular YouTuber (with more than 856,000 subscribers) who describes himself as:

“A guy that loves sneakers and creates YouTube videos about them as well as other things. This channel has sneaker collections from Nike, Jordan, adidas, Yeezy, Reebok, Under Armour and more. He also does sneaker reviews, sneaker shopping, performance reviews, and sneaker history. He also loves technology, music, and pop culture and often mixes the three with ‘sneaker’ to create one of the few ‘sneaker’ channels that bridges the gap.”


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