Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Facts About Sweatshops

One of the most galling things about Western culture at the moment is the sense of entitlement. Many of us have government funding for support or hold down full-time jobs. The majority of Western countries have modern human rights laws and will help anybody who is in trouble or distress, within reason.

The sense of entitlement leads many of us who have perfectly healthy, enjoyable lives to feel that we are the ones on the end of a hard time from fate. However, have you ever considered the conditions in other parts of the world? You may think you are having a hard time, but when is the last time you were forced to work two or three days in a row?

When was the last time you considered how lucky you are to be able to splurge on a pair of expensive shoes? One thing you should be thinking about in this situation is where these expensive extras you have are actually coming from. Your clothes tend to be made, wrongly, by sweatshops owned by the huge corporations that you buy from.

Those who work in sweatshops are desperately unlucky to have to do so – the rate of pay is pathetic, working conditions tend to be poor, and human rights violations are almost constant. Here are just some facts that you should understand about working in a sweatshop. It may help you create some gratitude for your own lifestyle, or realize just how hard some people work to survive;

  • A sweatshop has been defined by the United States Department of Labor as “a factory that violates two or more labor laws” although the sad reality is that the “more” tends to come into play more than you would like to think.
  • It is thought that in developing nations across the globe, roughly 250 million from the ages of 5-14 are being forced to work in sweatshops. This type of slave labor, where pay is almost non-existent, is ruining the potential of many young children worldwide.
  • A study showed that doubling the salary of all sweatshop workers would only increase the cost of an item you buy in a store by roughly 1.8%.
  • However, other studies have shown that a consumer would rather pay 15% more on their item to know it was created in a safe and legal environment
  • The majority of money earned by sweatshop workers is spent on food to get by and survive on – these jobs do not help families at all, they destroy them
  • Abuse, whether it is physical, mental or sexual, is extremely common in these factories. Doors are often locked and staff are forced to work more than one shift in a row
  • More than 11,000 sweatshops were known to be in the United States in 2000 and they were all breaking both overtime and minimum wage laws. An additional 16,000 had broken health and safety conditions

The next time that you consider buying a brand product, or the next time you discard an item you don’t think is “worth it”, consider the pain and suffering the maker of the item may have went through. Understanding that your life is nowhere near as bad as it could be is an important way of having gratitude for the world around you.