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Sweat SHOPS

What are sweatshops?

It is any workplace in which workers are subject to extreme exploitation. This includes not providing workers with benefits, acceptable working conditions, or a living wage. A living wage differs from minimum wage by enabling workers to cover the cost of basic needs, such as food, shelter, and health care; minimum wages usually do not cover these costs.

What is sweatshop labor like?

Sweatshop laborers generally work 60-80 hours per week and are not paid enough money to put food on the table; they sometimes receive only pennies a day for their labor. Often, the sweatshop environment is unsafe – workers are harassed, intimidated, forced to work overtime, and made to work in dangerous and unhealthy environments, even while sick. Workers handle toxic chemical paints, solvents, and glues with their bare hands.

Why do sweatshops exist?

Sweatshops are a product of the global economy and so-called "free" trade. Companies increase profits by driving down costs any way possible, so they set up low-cost factories. To minimize costs, companies look for places with the lowest wages and human rights protections. Sweatshops can be found all over Central and South America, Asia, and certain regions of Europe. There are even undocumented workers in sweatshops in places like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

What is the link between sweatshops and child labor?

Children are employed in sweatshops because they work for less money and are less likely to complain about poor working conditions. Many of the children must work to help their parents, who are not paid enough to provide for the family. An education is out of the question for these children, who must work instead of going to school.

How are sweatshops tied to human trafficking?

Despite international and domestic human rights agreements, many countries fail to protect the rights of their workers, and often have a hand in their exploitation. For instance, the trafficking of Thai women to Japan as means of cheap labor often includes debt bondage, forced labor and many other abuses. These women undergo slavery-like conditions, and are literally "bought" and "sold" to employers. Many are forced to work without wages until they have repaid inflated "debts" and "fees", which may take years. The women are also subject to physical abuse, excessively long working hours, and sexual harassment. (Find out more on human trafficking here.)

A woman's issue

Millions of workers, mostly women, toil in tens of thousands of sweatshops around the world. Sweatshop awareness organizations estimate that 85% of sweatshop workers are young women between the ages of 15-25.

As an employment requirement, women at some Mexican and Central American plants are forced to take shots to prevent pregnancy so that companies do not have to pay maternity leave. If a woman become pregnant or refuses to submit to forced birth control, she may be fired. More here...

 

Regulatory Failure

Sunday 28th April, 2013 :Four arrested over Dhaka factory disaster
 

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