Stop Sex Trafficking, Buy Hand Cream: politics for girls

Spotted in the window of the Hampstead branch of Body Shop, is this the most ludicrous bit of marketing ever? For once words almost fail me. But not quite.

The poster reads:

NNOO Stop sex trafficking of children & young people.

Wanna know how? Read further down below the “SALE CONTINUES IN-STORE” sticker embazoned across their message:

NEW Soft Hands Kind Heart Hand Cream
£3.45 from your purchase is donated to our campaign partner, ECPAT, who are actively working to stop the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children and young people in the UK and around the world. Their future is in our hands.

Great! Stop sexpoloitation with your soft hands. Give silky smooth hand-jobs with this cream — hey, as long as they’re free, gurls. Maybe sex workers can combat their own oppression by purchasing Body Shop cosmetics. One product buying another? Compassion as commodity? What a brilliant illustration of the objectification of human beings under capitalism.

Of course, if you don’t buy it then you are a hatchet-faced scumbag who might as well be taking the tenners at the door while whey-faced adolescents get gang-banged by armies of swarthy paedos.

I was told by the Body Shop’s very own Hall Monitor, an imperious assistant, that I’m “not allowed to take photographs of their shop”, even from the street! Which only pissed me off even more. She had been told to enforce this by the company (under new management since Anita Roddick sold out to L’Oreal because She Was Worth It), so does that mean they KNOW their campaign will be a source of derision?

Cynical? Just nuts? I couldn’t possibly comment.

Madam Miaow says … visit Anna Chen’s website here:


Anna’s food blog here:

9 thoughts on “Stop Sex Trafficking, Buy Hand Cream: politics for girls”

  1. Every Sainsbury store is now twinned with a charity. The fire engines have 1984 style mission statements on the side and the Bacardi company is sponsoring the Dali lama's next tour of the USA. Can it coninue in this vein?

  2. Well I was fuming even before I got to the bit about your not being able to take a picture of their store from public property!

    Not that I ever remember purchasing anything made by L'Oreal, they are on my boycott list; earlier this year they were found guilty of racial discrimination because of 'considering black, Arab and Asian women unworthy of selling its shampoo.' Huffington Post article on this here:

    Oh, and while we're on the topic of cosmetics many of the raw materials that go into the production of face powders and various other bit of cosmetic paraphenalia is dug out of the ground by children (L'Oreal is quite likely guilty of using raw materials mined in this way). Link to Times article about this practice:

    I'm going to write to ECPAT (The Body Shop's partner in this scheme) tomorrow and tell them exactly what I think about their partnership. Disgusting!

  3. I think it'll take a bit more understanding of the political background than offered at that link, kabloona, to effect a change.

    I'm happy to see drops added to the ocean. Unfortunately, there is no sea-swell to turn this into something bigger. The amounts raised will do very little and would appear to have more value in repositioning the damaged Body Shop brand.

    While I can see the sense of directly paying coffee growers a fair deal for their produce, the linkage of a cosmetic to sex-trade salvation is risible. Especially in the light of what Oliver points out about L'Oreal's racism and unfair production methods.

    You could call this campaign "cosmetic" in all senses.

  4. I've worked out that my computer is made up of one third exploited labour from the third world. So I'm going to boycott one third of the computer, the keyboard .. will you join me?

  5. Wow!

    Body Shop are just too dense to work out how patronisingly stoopid this is. Just buy some hand cream and hey presto exploitation will disappear. I mean, dear customer, you are doing your bit and have some nice hand cream in the bargain.

    What next cosmetics against capitalism? Nails against neoliberalism? Touchy-feely capitalism.

    And how dense of them to stop you taking a pic.

  6. I stopped going to Body Shop when it was sold to L'Oreal – I found the who thing hypocritical. It's just crass. If the Body Shop want to support ECPAT they should just do it.

    We had a protest outside their shops years ago due to low pay and not recognising trade unions – they were not happy.

    For soft skin – I recommend oats and camomile in a muslin bag – really works and is cheap. You can re-use it over and over again, make a new one up once a month.

    I used to use Clinque's three stages but then found out the toner was just witch hazel which costs less than £2 in a chemist and the best moisturiser I have ever found comes from Aldis for £2.

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