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Why Our Personal Consumerism Feeds Child Slave Labour

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Hanoi Child Workers

Hanoi Child Workers

We Depend On Child Labour

Many of us buy our everyday products, and many of us do not give a second thought about said product. Turn over the tag on a shirt you bought from your local Target or Walmart in America. Where does it state your shirt was made? Indonesia? China? Perhaps Made In Vietnam.

We enjoy our freedoms as consumers but it comes with a price tag that isn't included on our clothing. Nobody questions child labour to occur in first world countries. Sometimes we just have to think outside of our consumer bubble.

While local policies and laws may not eliminate the problem, we have the power to ban child labor in sweatshops. While such measures can help end child labor, the free market can also attract adult labor and prevent minors from being hired in sweatshops.

How do we cure child labour and what is the important role of sweatshops in this process? The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Report on the Healing of Child Labor in the USA are the governing bodies that protect from such human rights violations.

Every business has a code of conduct that protects human rights and prohibits the use of child labour in the factories where the products we buy are manufactured. Multinational corporations should restrict the use of child labour in factories, even if they themselves benefit from sweatshops. Increasing demand for products produced by child workers means encouraging more birth rates and more slavery, encouraging the creation of more child labour and more slave labour, increasing sweatshops, encouraging more child labour, obstructing education and encouraging parents of children working in these factories to work more and earn more. Ask the companies you do business with if they want to make sure that sweatshops or child labour are not used in their business.

My support for Nike dwindles


Nike is characterized for manufacturing its equipment in countries in the development phase of human rights violations, such as Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, without respecting the rights of children in their own countries. Going out and buying Nike merchandise cannot be equated with believing in human rights, because Nike does not stand for human rights.

Half of the world's football balls are made in Pakistan, and one of them goes through a production process involving child labour. Nike goes to Pakistan to promote favourable conditions for child labour, but takes no precautions to prevent the exploitation of children in their own country. Instead, Nike makes profit from its Pakistani contractors, who use child labor as bondage in the production process and benefit from it in other countries.

According to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, Nike benefits from cheap labor and production costs through contracted factories that employ children to make products.

To end child labor in sweatshops, multinational companies must monitor hiring practices and working conditions to ensure that they meet international standards and raise awareness of the issue. Consumers can force companies to comply with international labor standards by boycotting sweatshop products that hire minors. If Nike decides to use workers from a factory in a country with a history of human rights abuses like China, it should address the other problems that its workers face in the workplace.

For every purchase you make or avoid, you have the opportunity to create an economy where child labor in sweatshops no longer exists. Nike, once outed for using children, should lead the fair work game by promoting an end to the use of child labor in sweatshops. In fact, Nike has been accused of using a sweatshop when it produces goods in countries with a history of human rights abuses, such as China.

In China, where worker activism is fundamentally illegal, workers did not know what rights they had or how to exercise them, and even in China, where they had rights, how to exercise them. The debate over exploitation and child labour has intensified in recent years, as companies such as Nike and Adidas have been seen to be hiring in factories that do not meet minimum wage standards and where children work. Nike has been described as one of the largest employers of forced laborers in the US and the world.

In an effort to be more transparent, it has published factory reports and made efforts to reverse its other human rights abuses, but has denied allegations of abuse in its factories over the years. Nike announced that it would honour its promise to end child labour and allow external monitoring of its facilities. But Nike has taken a big step back: The International Labour Law Forum reports that the company has turned its back on the Worker's Rights Consortium (WRC), which effectively prevents labor law experts from independently monitoring its supplier factories


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Oe Kaori


Oe Kaori (author) from Yokohama Japan on October 07, 2020:

Thanks! Children should be learning and playing not slaving away for us

Helna on October 07, 2020:

Nice article. Children should go to school, not work. Anyway, Jesus Loves You. Blessings.

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