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Starbuck’s & Ethiopian prostitution

What’s the connection between coffee bean prices and prostitution in Ethiopia? You guessed it: control of prices by US and EU multinationals which is resulting in life-threatening poverty for Ethiopian women and girls. I just saw the movie, Black Gold A beautiful and inspiring movie, it documents economic assaults against Ethiopian coffee farmers by dominant countries’ coffee buyers’ interests. This kind of economic brutality is one of the direct causes of prostitution/trafficking. To get to the root of the racism, colonial economic policies, and lethal sexism which causes prostitution, we must address global fair trade issues.

What can you do?

1) See the movie Black Gold

2) BOYCOTT Starbuck’s coffee until they sign an agreement with Ethiopian coffee cooperatives that gives the growers a fair price (a 1% increase in the price of Ethiopian coffee on the world market will result in billions of dollars going to Ethiopia and will enable them to survive without US economic aid).

3) When you discuss the needs of women and children who are trafficked, always address the issue of economic justice. Trafficking does not exist in a vacuum separate from other sexism, racism, and poverty.

4) Locate some Ethiopian coffee that is FAIR TRADE coffee in your town. It is some of the best in the world.


  1. I think Starbucks, Tullys and all such chains should be boycotted until they ONLY sell fair-trade coffee.
    I have only ever seen one brand of fair-trade coffee at Starbucks – one brand among many. As if because they have one such bag, they’re done. They’re not done; you tell them they’re not done until ALL the bags say “fair trade”.

  2. Please tell Starbucks your concern by going to and letting them know your feelings and wishes. The contact information on their site is easy to use. Every comment is powerful to business-they figure if you are taking the time to comment, another hundred are not! They have a spot for comments.

  3. Sisters and Brothers:
    The IWW Starbucks Workers Union and Justice from Bean to Cup! campaign invite you to the Starbucks Annual Shareholder Meeting for a celebration of dissent and resistance. Around the world, cafe workers and coffee farmers are struggling against the exploitative labor practices of the world’s largest coffee chain. Baristas in New York, Chicago, and Rockville have made common cause with union baristas in New Zealand and Canada to create an independent voice on the job and win a living wage. At the same time in locations including Ethiopia and Kenya, coffee farmers are demanding that Starbucks respect their autonomy and right to survive.
    As multinational corporations like Starbucks amplify their power across the globe, workers too are globalizing solidarity. From farmers in Korea, to garment workers in Bangladesh, and teachers in Oaxaca, working people are struggling for a liberatory alternative to neoliberalism. The struggle for the dignity of Starbucks workers is part of the same global justice movement.
    Starbucks uses the Annual Meeting to showcase its false socially responsible image to investors and the world. This year, people of conscience will crash the party with a message of authentic dignity and autonomy for working people, not greenwashing. Contact IWW member and Starbucks barista Tomer Malchi at 646-753-1167 or to get involved. Join us and carry forward the global struggle for liberty at work and in society:
    Celebration of Resistance at the Starbucks Annual Meeting
    March 21, 2007 at 9 a.m.
    Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center
    Seattle, Washington
    Mercer Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

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