It has taken a tragedy on the scale of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh to finally strip away any remaining illusions that cheap clothes don't come with a serious human rights price-tag somewhere down the line.
Reports on Thursday of the partial collapse of a shoe factory in Cambodia offers another example.
John Hilary, executive director at War on Want, has talked of Rana Plaza as a tipping point – when the brutal truth of what lies behind our £2 T-shirts was finally revealed.
"The link between poverty and cheap clothes made in Bangladesh has been well established," he says. "What is important about this tragedy is that it has thrown into stark relief the fact that this is an industry where the workers are not just exploited and forced to work in an environment of harassment, violence and abuse, but where basic guarantees of safety have been thrown to the wind, where corners have been cut to the extent that a building can collapse on top of thousands of workers."
For decades, anti-slavery campaigners have been working alongside labour rights groups, protesting against and attempting to expose the human rights abuses hidden inside notoriously and deliberately complex global supply chains.
Thanks to their work there is now little doubt that forced labour and other forms of slavery exist within the supply chains of the food, fashion, electronics and consumer goods products that we all use. Cotton harvested with forced labour in Uzbekistan could have been used in the sewing machines of the Bangladeshi workers buried under the rubble at Rana Plaza.
But are the conditions of the Rana Plaza workers themselves a form of modern-day slavery? The pope condemned conditions in the factories inside the Rana Plaza building as "slave labour". EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht described labour conditions in Bangladesh as "modern slavery", and the term "wage slavery" has been used in the Bangladesh press.
"I feel that this is a very acute example of modern-day slavery and one which should be acknowledged as such," says Andrew Wallis, chief executive of Unseen, a UK-based anti-trafficking charity.
He acknowledges that under the internationally binding legal definitions of forced labour and slavery, there has been no evidence of forced labour at Rana Plaza.
"When it comes to how slavery is defined, particularly in the context of supply chains, I don't think we're putting the bar where it needs to be," he says. "In the Dhaka case we have an exploitative situation where technically the workers were free to leave but due to economic factors they actually are not able. Add to that the exploitation around lack of safe working conditions, overwork, underpay, demand from western companies and societies for cheap goods, and you have a pretty toxic mix which comes down to splitting hairs over what is slavery and what is not."
Faustina Pereira, director of human rights and legal aid services at Brac, a Bangladeshi NGO, says that as a human rights activist she is in "full consonance with the sentiment behind this statement".
"Having said that, we are dealing with a sector that directly touches the lives and livelihoods of millions of individuals and their families, and directly contributes to lifting them out of abject poverty," she said from Dhaka.
She says using words such as "slavery" when describing an exploited yet legitimate workforce runs the risk of allowing companies to simply turn tail instead of acknowledging their culpability. "We should go beyond nomenclature that alienates the players who should be [held] to account."
She refers back to the early 1990s when the Bangladeshi garment sector was plunged into crisis after US senator Tom Harkin proposed the Child Labour Deterrence Act 1993, which called for a ban on all imports that had used child labour at any stage of production.
"The intent and spirit of this bill was noble but its impact was devastating on countless families in Bangladesh who had relied on the contribution of their children for basic subsistence," she says. "Overnight we had seen millions of families fall into further destitution as garment factory owners were terminating wholesale from their factories workers who were under 18 years old."
Kevin Bales, a slavery activist and co-founder of Free the Slaves, is concerned by the potential impact that mislabelling paid workers as slaves could have on global anti-slavery efforts.
"What we are seeing in Bangladesh and elsewhere is the result of a continuum of exploitation, ranging from breach of labour standards such as unpaid overtime and non-payment of minimum wages, through to unsafe and abusive working conditions to – at the very bottom of the scale – forced labour and slavery," he says.
"We have to come to the point where all forms of labour abuses and exploitation are considered unacceptable, but pushing a whole labour force into the 'slavery' box isn't going to help. At worst, it's going to undermine the efforts to reform labour standards and also dilute the reality of life as a person trapped in the worst forms of modern-day slavery, where you have no option, no chance of walking away."
Some of the world's largest fashion brands and the Bangladeshi government are now attempting – under massive public pressure – to rectify the lack of regulation that paved the way for the loss of life at Rana Plaza.
All of this must bring hope to those campaigning for greater accountability in global supply chains. Whether transparency can illuminate the darkest recesses of our food, fashion, electronics and consumer goods industries and expose modern-day slavery remains to be seen.
Child Labor in Bangladesh
...Child Labor in Bangladesh Bangladesh is a densely populated developing country. Though Bangladesh is a small country, the population is about 150.5 million and among them 31.5% people are under the poverty line (World Bank). There is scarcity of jobs and people of the country cannot provide even foods for their children. For this reason, the poor children of Bangladesh are compelled to work, even though theses works are highly risky for their health. When it’s the time to go to school, they have to work in industries, ship breaking yards, mills etc to meet their needs of food. According to the Labor Law of Bangladesh 2006, the minimum legal age for employment is 14. According to this law, children under 14 should not be employed as laborers, but the real situation of the country shows a different picture. It shows that child laborers face the problems like low wages, poor food and also perilous working environment (UNICEF). These problems affect both their physical and mental health, and in this way the rights of children in Bangladesh are being violated every day. For example, according to J.Hasan, about 2000 child laborers, whose ages are between 10 and 14, are working in Sitakunda ship breaking yard in a highly risky environment. The working place is full of broken glass, steel spikes and piles of metal scraps, and the children work there from morning to evening, even in bare feet and hands. Therefore, they are highly vulnerable for any accident in this ship breaking......
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...Sadman sakib Ap English and composition Pd2 “Raise your voice for child labor” We American people fight for rights, fight for jobs, its been an anniversary for wall street protest. Student go for strike for budget cut. We people feel bad seeing bad condition for dogs and cat but none among us has fought for child labor that going on around the world. We Americans have closed our eyes pretending not to see anything’s behind our world. Americans wake up there is a vast work where young children’s are treated like back 1800’s some time even bad. From the first day I saw child labor in my eyes It sparked my heart to do something for them when I can do so. In 1800’s child labor started after industrial revolution. In back 1800 parents could not afford to send their children in school they were expensive, they took their children to work and children help their family by bringing extra money. Back then children were exposed to machines, bad working condition. Many children at that time had health issue because of bad working condition, many young people died at young age. After many years some raised their voice; in 1989 united nation convention on the right of the child outlines in iteration norms for the protection of children. The convention stated that “the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is like to hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education or to be harmful to health” it’s been 32......
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...News Analysis In 2009, there was a piece of news reported by New Tang Dynasty Television informing the current situation of child labor in India. The news took advantage of real shooting on children’s working condition to indicate millions of children were deprived of childhood and engaged in detrimental jobs instead. It was acknowledged that the exploitation of child labor has been deemed as an accepted practice in India and child workers actually played an indispensable role in Indian workforce, but this would not raise public awareness and government attention. At the beginning, the TV news anchor briefly introduced the uncontrolled phenomenon of child labor in India by pointing out numerous children were compelled to work for little or no pay. Then the lens cut into the scene of an India child labor working on a variety of bangles while sitting on the shabby footstep, with the subtitle of “Child Labor Stile Rampant” on the screen. The news also provided a scope of the Indian northern state of Kolkata, which was famous for abundant bangles, depicting that a number of child workers were engaging in the bangle market under the jam-packed and disordered environment. Unexpectedly, a close shot of three smiling Indian kids with curious eyes appeared on the screen, which presented a conspicuous contrast with the subsequent interview of a slightly elder child work named Vikrantk. He worked for a bangle factory for 8 hours and only earned 35 rupees per day. He said he had no......
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...love to break-free from this world, but continue to be where they are, not out of choice, but force. This is the true story of child labor. Innocent children are employed by industries and individuals who put them to work under grueling circumstances. They are made to work for long hours in dangerous factory units and sometimes made to carry load even heavier than their own body weight. Then there are individual households that hire children as domestic help and beat and physically torture them when they make a mistake. The children are at times made to starve and are given worn out clothes to wear. Such is the story of millions of children in India painful and yet true. The two primary reasons for the ever-growing social malice of child labor are poverty and lack of education. Poor parents give birth to children thinking them as money-making machines. They carry infants to earn more on the streets from begging. Then as they grow they make them beggars, and eventually sell them to employers. This malady is rampant across the length and breadth of India. In other words, child labor is any kind of work children are made to do that harms or exploits them physically, mentally, morally, or by preventing access to education. However, all work is not bad or exploitive for children. In fact, certain jobs help in enhancing the overall personality of the child. For example, children delivering newspapers prior to going to school or taking up light summer jobs that do not interfere with...
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...| Essay, Custom Research Paper: Argumentative Essay on Child Labor Laws and Regulations | | | | Child labor occurs along a continuum, with harmful and exploitative work that endangers the welfare and potential of the child at one end of the spectrum and light work and often beneficial training and apprenticeship at the other. National and international labor standard regulations with respect to what constitutes a legally permissible minimum age of employment accordingly depend typically on a range of criteria including (a) the type of work, as distinguished by the degree of hazard a child faces, or whether the child is subject to exploitation, or the worst forms of child labor; (b) the sector of employment, whether in agriculture, manufacturing, or family businesses or the household; and (c) the degree to which child labor work interferes with schooling, depending on the number of hours a child is put to work, say, per week.Though child labor statistics inevitably paint an aggregate picture, the coverage of national and international statistics has improved, reflecting a diversity of activities that come under the umbrella of child labor work. International Labour Organization (ILO) statistics treat any child as economically active with performance of at least 1 hour of work during the week prior to asurvey. The ILO also defines a child laborer as synonymous with (a) an economically active person between the ages of 5 and 11, and (b) an individual between the ages of......
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...1. CHILD LABOR Child labor can be defined as: “The employment of children at regular and sustained labor basis. The term “child labor” is often defined as the work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.” 2. CHILD LABOR IN FACTORIES IN PAKISTAN In Pakistan, child labor is commonly found in all sectors and industries of the nation, be it in rural localities or urban localities. Underage labor being sought from children can be seen in factories, workshops, hotels, bazaars, etc. At times they have no choice but to do work that is beyond their physical capacity by force and circumstance which is the violation of law. 45.7% of the total population of Pakistan (2012) lives below the poverty line. Given these circumstances these children are compelled by their poor parents (who are prone to illiteracy and unawareness) to work even if it is affecting their childhood because the nominal wages that are brought home by these children helps to run their houses. Working in factories promises these poor children a fixed amount of money throughout the month over labor in other forms such as working on the streets and signals and gives the employers cheap labor (who may be literate or illiterate). In country with such a fragile system for checks and balances it is very easy for these employers to exploit children for their own advantage of making more profit by making use of them......
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...Child Labor: Stymieing a Global Pandemic Axia College Ericka Boice, Cherie Brown, and LaKeisha Wilkerson August 30, 2010 Child labor is a serious moral issue that illegally employs children below the age of 15, which means that one is not under the sole responsibility of parents or illegal guardians. Child labor has been an invasive problem throughout the global economy for a very long time. It first appeared with the development of domestic systems and this problem exists mostly in foreign and developing countries such as Mexico, Asia, India, and Africa. There is an estimated 250 million child workers, between ages 5 to 14. Some are working fulltime and some part-time. Child Labor has been one of the biggest issues around the world because it puts children in unfavorable danger. The awareness that globalization is leading towards child exploitation is a very serious matter for international businesses. This kind of labor is damaging and negative towards the health of children. You can very well say a child’s life in this matter is diminishing towards their future because it is impossible for children to receive enrichment towards an education or enjoy a proper childhood. Child Labor affects the global community because for one it is not an easy issue to resolve and it has been going on for a very long time in so many countries. It is found many issues involving child labor deals with children who are working because their families are very poor. The......
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...There was a internal audit that was conducted on Apple, they found that 106 children were working at more than 10 factories creating Apple products in the past year alone according to The Guardian. (n.d.). Hiring children means that the child labor laws are being violated. Also this is morally wrong and not for the greater good of the people. Apple conducted an investigation on it's suppliers. The result of that investigation was unexpected. They found out that children were being recruited using fake identity papers. Child labor is obvious because of the harsh working conditions provided by Apple. Most of the children worked for Chinese companies that made supplies for apple. The children were under the age of 16; they employed about 74 children out of the 106 total according to The Guardian. (n.d.). Most of the cases are from 2013, and total there have been 70 companies in Apple's supply chain that have employed children according to The Guardian. (n.d.). There has been a host of other events happening when the whistle was blown so to speak. There have been cases of workers committing suicide, and also deadly explosions at some of the supply chains. This is relevant because workers slowly began to figure out that children were being used for labor, and these were some of the consequences. The children had to lift heavy equipment, and some of them were subject to pregnancy tests as well. If the children got into trouble while working they would be punished by having......
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...Playgrounds, laughter, joy, leisure and so on. Child labor is childhood destruction; children need to be children, they will have the rest of their lives as adults to work, so why rush that? Childhood is the most innocent stage in a human life. It is that phase of life where a child is nurturing, and is free from all the tensions, and health risks. Child labor existed in throughout the American and British history, as the industrial revolution moved workers from farms and home workshops into urban areas and factory work. Children were often preferred, because factory owners viewed them as more manageable, cheaper, and less likely to strike. But how did that end up? Many children died, many more were tortured and were forced to work, basically forced into slavery. So do we want that again? There is nothing wrong with children doing chores; not all work is bad for children. A child who delivers newspapers before school might actually benefit from learning how to work, gaining responsibility, and a bit of money. But what if the child is forced to work? Not paid or is poorly paid? Forced labor is any work performed against a person’s will under the threat of punishment. According to UNICEF, and Free the Child organizations, work that exceeds the min number of hours will deprive children from school, and is also physically, socially and mentally harmful for the child. Such work should therefore be eliminated.” Forced labor and child labor are closely linked. They......
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...Child Labor: Threatening the economy and well-being of children Child labor has existed throughout American history and throughout the world for many years. A quote from Lewis Hine in 1980 states: "There is work that profits children, and there is work that brings profits only to employers. The object of employing children is not to train them, but to get high profits from their work.” As factories started to assemble, most owners preferred children as their workers because the owners thought them as “more manageable, cheaper and less likely to strike.” The industries children usually worked for were mines, glass factories, textiles, agriculture, canneries, home industries, newsboys, messengers, bootblack and peddlers. During the Industrial Revolution, children at four years old were employed and dealing with dangerous and sometimes fatal working conditions. Now, because of new child labor laws in the United States, industries are going overseas to produce their product in countries that still use child labor. Developed countries consider these actions to be human rights violations and are illegal, while some undeveloped countries will allow or tolerate child labor. These children who are in these factories in different countries are costing the company less because of their wages, when they could have their factories in the States, producing jobs and cash flow in our economy. Child labor violates the common good by threatening the long-term growth of the economy and the......
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...Child labor Valerie Dove BUS 309 Strayer University May, 3 2015 Child Labor Do you believe that some industries are unfairly targeted? Should it be consumers’ choice to partake in products that are not healthy for them, or do those companies have an ethical obligation to protect people? In this assignment you will choose one (1) industry to write about. Possible industries to research could be tobacco, soda, alcohol, casinos, or candy companies, just to name a few. I choose to research the trading from other countries I feel that a lot of the trading that goes back and forward between different countries are sometimes almost always unethical. I took a look at some of the things that we get from other countries that we use on a daily basic and we enjoy all the pleasure of using these items. One item in particular would be the cell phone that we use we even provide these devices for our children to have its rally hard today to find a working adult in America that does not have a cell phone. One thing that I don’t believe any of us has taken account for is the fact that a lot of time they have children working long hours basically slaving for long hours to make sure that we could enjoy these simple life’s pleasures. These things are pleasurable for us but they are a painful reminder every day of the hard labors of life for some children in a lot of these third world companies. The overwhelming majority of Americans are horrified by reports of inhumane conditions in......
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...Child Labor Melinda Trevathan Global Business Management Dr. Wilson June 5, 2015 Abstract Generally, child labor is described as a broad term that covers a substantial mixture between and within countries in the nature of undertakings in which children play a part. More specifically, child labor is described as economic undertakings that may be harmful or lethal to the welfare of children. It may be difficult to imagine, where some children are chained to factory floors working in horrific conditions, forced into prostitution or even child-forced soldiers. Unfortunately, some countries do not hold the same values as developed or developing nations, where forced or voluntary child labor is regarded as a form of child abuse. It mostly depends on the type of work and what type of work environment that encircles the child or children (Edmonds & Pavcnik, 2005). Keywords: introduction, poverty, child labor statistics, globalization, conclusion Introduction Generally, child labor is described as a broad term that covers a substantial mixture between and within countries in the nature of undertakings in which children play a part. More specifically, child labor is described as economic undertakings that may be harmful or lethal to the welfare of children. It may be difficult to imagine, where some children are chained to factory floors working in horrific conditions, forced into prostitution or even child-forced soldiers. Unfortunately, some countries do......
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...limits, only goals Child Labor Activist 09/02/2015 Table of Contents I. Executive Summary ………………………………………………………….. 1 II. Introduction ………………………………………………………………....... 2 III. Roots ………………………………………………………………………….. 3 IV. Taking Care of Goals ………………………………………………………… 4 V. Labor Scandal ………………………………………………………………… 5 VI. Wages ………………………………………………………………………… 6 VII. Boiling Water ……………………………………………………………….... 7 VIII. The Stakeholders …………………………………………………………...... 10 IX. Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………. 11 I. Executive Summary Nike is a name brand known for its sports athletic gear. This report will examine the issues of Nike on a controversial dilemma in which Nike is ethically responsible for manufacturing its goods. Nike has been known to be a sponsor for the highest paid names in the sports industry. Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are two of many that benefit from the Nike endorsements. Analytically speaking large corporations like Nike Inc. tend to contract a large portion of factories overseas to avoid the strict working regulations in the United States. These third world countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, Pakistan, China, Korea, and Taiwan provide access to readily abundant cheap labor. Nike believed investing in developing countries to manufacture their products which led them to their current multi-billion dollar success. The exploitation scandal of Nike’s success includes labor issues, under age child labor, and wages. People...
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...What is Child Labor? Child labor is work that harms children or keeps them from attending school. Around the world , growing gaps between rich and poor in recent decades have forced millions of young children out of school and into work. The International Labor Organization estimates that 246 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 currently work under conditions that are considered illegal, hazardous, or extremely exploitative. Underage children work at all sorts of jobs around the world, usually because they and their families are extremely poor. Large numbers of children work in commercial agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, mining, and domestic service. Some children work in illicit activities like the drug trade and prostitution or other traumatic activities such as serving as soldiers. The child is the father of the man”. Children should be imparted noble values and virtues so that they can grow up as good and responsible citizen of the country. It is indeed unfortunately that we find children being forced to wok in order earn their livelihood. Thus the hand should be used for play or studies are used for hard manual work. Thus a childhood is wasted, which comes once in life of a man. Child labor in Bangladesh, it is a very sympathetic also a great sorrow for us we are really unable to take necessary action against them to remove elegy of child labor. Somebody say Bangladesh is a developing country but actually our country is poor. Economic problems are a......
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...Child labor was and is still an existing practice in the world today. Manuel, a five-year old worked at a seafood cannery in Biloxi, Mississippi, with a shrimp pail in each hand and a mountain of oyster shells behind his back. He is typical for thousands of working children in the years before the civil war, especially the turn of the century. America's army of child laborers had been growing steadily for the past century. The nation's economy was expanding. Factories, minds and mills needed plenty of cheap labor. Around 1911, more than two million American children under the age of 16 years of age were a regular part of the work force. Many of them worked twelve hours or more a day, six days a week, for pathetic wages under unhealthy and hazardous conditions. Thousands of young boys descended into dark and dangerous coal mines every day, or worked aboveground in the dust of coal breakers, picking slate from coal with torn and bleeding fingers. Small girls tended noisy machines in the spinning rooms of cotton mills, where the humid, lint-filled air made breathing difficult. They were actually kept awake by cold water being thrown in their faces. Three-year-olds could be found in the cotton fields, and twelve-year-olds on factor night shifts. Across the country, children who should have been in school or at play had to work for a living. By the early 1900's, many Americans were calling child labor "child slavery" and were demanding an end to......
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