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Sweatshops: The Untold Story Of Child Labor

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Historically, countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom had formed their economic dominance in the world from sweatshops, during the Industrial Revolution. Knowing the details of the Industrial Revolution is important because it describes cruel labor practices and actions that are banned today, especially concerning the issue of child labor, and the usage of children in sweatshops. Many first countries today have banned these practices, but in many parts of the world today, these practices still exist, unfortunately. Many people in these countries, especially children, work long hours and work for little to no pay in cruel working conditions in sweatshops that are often run by American or European corporations and businesses. Instead of getting an education, and experiencing a childhood like they should, children in these parts of the world do not get to experience these luxuries people in first world have. Children should not be allowed to work in sweatshops because children should not be denied their right to receive an education and to live normal lives.

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In many first world countries, there has been a plethora of organizations created for the sole purpose to combat abusive labor practices and sweatshops around the world, including combating the issue of child labor. Child labor is still an ongoing issue that is occurring despite the actions the National Consumers League took in 1899 by informing the world of unfair labor practices and sweatshops. Despite of these actions that were taken, in many parts of the world, child labor is still a common practice.

Child workers in sweatshops from these third world countries often make products for American and European businesses. Many consumers in the United States specifically are quickly beginning to become more conscientious of their consumer choices, and the issue of child labor and sweatshops are becoming more well-known due to the reporting of it from media sources and outlets. In a statistic from an article written by Linda Golodner, it states: “A total of 83% of employees would seriously consider leaving their job if their employer used child labor in sweatshop factories. ” This is a good thing because it means more people in developed countries are becoming more aware of important social and economic problems that are occurring in different parts of the world. In popular and in moral opinion, for the most part, many people consider child labor to be an abusive, immoral act that should have ceased after the Industrial Revolution, when labor laws were created and started to gain effect in the United States. But just because something is immoral doesn’t make it necessarily easy to stop unfortunately.

Unlike the developed world, a lot of third world countries need to depend on sweatshops for their economic development. In many of these countries, labor laws do exist, but they ironically are not able to do enough means of action to stop the usage of sweatshops in their countries, and with the incapability of completely outlawing sweatshops, it means that child labor will be used even more extensively. In other words, labor laws are mostly powerless when it involves stopping the widespread use of sweatshops around the world. This is best described in an article written by Benjamin Powell. In the article, he states: “In short, when laws mandated greater safety than the usual industry practice, they were often ignored, much as they are in Third World sweatshops today. Safety improved instead in response to economic growth. ”

The dependence on sweatshops in third world countries can be due to poverty, economic instability, poor standard of living, and the lack of proper education, especially in rural areas. In these few factors alone, are considered some of the main reasons why children are having to work in sweatshops, and are subjecting themselves in dangerous working conditions, abuse, and poor pay. For some children in these parts of the world, the only choice they have is to work in these sweatshops.

Since economic inequality, and poverty are rampant in some of these countries, a lot children who live in these countries must either work the long hours that is associated with working in sweatshops, while still attending school, or they avoid education all together, and work. Either way, a lot of children in these nations must work to help their families financially. Many would argue this as a reason why children should work in sweatshops since these children cannot control where they were born in and the circumstances they live through, and because of these reasons, sweatshops are the only way for them to earn money. While it may be a valid point from the other side, this argument, however, does not consider the fact that education is an important way to break free from poverty, and having an education guarantees a more financially stable future. If these children are not able to focus on their studies due to working long hours in sweatshops, or not going to school because they are working, these children aren’t able to strive in the future, and as a result, they will most likely have to keep working in sweatshops in order to maintain themselves financially since there is not a way for them to escape themselves from poverty.

In an article written by Mashura Akilova, the author interviews child workers in Tajikistan, a country located in central Asia. In this article, she states the following: “The number of children working had risen to 27% of the country’s 2. 2 million children ages 5–17 in 2013. This number corresponds to 522,000 working children (including those working part-time), 96% of whom are engaged in child labor. ” This specific statistic is an example to put in a more specific perspective of how many children in third countries might be involved in child labor. Although the work some of the children in Tajikistan can be considered tame compared to different countries with similar situations, the majority of the children in this country do not earn any money for the work they do, which by definition, is a perfect example of child labor.

Considering that many countries have similar circumstances regarding their children like in Tajikistan, many countries have even worse reports of abuse in sweatshops and the dangers associated with child labor. In 2013, a sweatshop that produced clothes for the fast fashion industry in Bangladesh collapsed resulting in the death of more than 1,100 people. It was not until this event that some people began to take this issue more seriously, with many wanting labor law reform in these countries. This event showcased the dangers that entails in sweatshops and is a real-life example of dangers children can go through while working in these types of environment.

Children should not be subjected to the many types of danger and abuse working in sweatshops can entail. Not only child labor is immoral and unfair to the children that are involved in it, but it prevents children from living a normal childhood, and it prevents them from receiving an education that can potentially break them free from poverty. It is doubtful that third world countries that are engaged with the usage of sweatshops will enforce stricter labor laws regarding the issue, considering that most of these countries that have sweatshops are poor countries who unfortunately have the need to keep having sweatshops in order to stabilize their economy. In conclusion, this issue is not black or white, and while it is tragic that today, in many parts of the world, children are having to work in sweatshops, there is not much organizations and labor laws can really do. The only hope for these nations is for the government to take full action concerning this issue, and for many countries, that action will not come for many years.

31 October 2020

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