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Chlld Labor.  Child Labour.

7-year-old Jasmine collects rubbish from a steaming rubbish heap on a cold winter morning.

She earns money to support her family by scavenging for items on the Kajla rubbish dump, Dhaka

It is one of three landfill sites in a city of 12 million people.

Around 5,000 tons of garbage are dumped here each day and more than 1,000 people work among the rubbish, sorting through the waste and collecting items to sell to retailers for recycling.

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Photo by
7-year-old Jasmine collects rubbish from a steaming rubbish heap on a cold winter morning.
She earns money to support her family by scavenging for items on the Kajla rubbish dump, Dhaka
It is one of three landfill sites in a city of 12 million people.
Around 5,000 tons of garbage are dumped here each day and more than 1,000 people work among the rubbish, sorting through the waste and collecting items to sell to retailers for recycling.
Fair Trade Chocolate and Cocoa: The Sweet Solution to Abusive Child Labor and Poverty
San Francisco, CA — July 1, 2005 will mark the expiration of the Harkin-Engel Protocol, a voluntary protocol agreed to by the chocolate industry to ensure U.S. chocolate products aren't made using illegal child labor.
Eyewitness reports from the field confirm that the industry has failed to fulfill its promise to monitor and certify by July 2005 that the cocoa it imports is not made by forced child labor.
Thus, Global Exchange, an international human rights group based in San Francisco, and the International Labor Rights Fund, an advocacy organization based in Washington, DC, are calling on the US government to step in and end the use of illegal child labor by the U.S. chocolate industry.
"Americans do not want to eat chocolate that was made with illegal child labor or slave labor.  No chocolate can taste good that was made under such conditions.  It's time for Congress to take action to mandate industry action.  And until then, people should seek out Fair Trade chocolate—that is, chocolate which has been certified by an international monitoring group to meet certain labor, wage, and environmental standards," says Jamie Guzzi of Global Exchange.
Producer poverty comes at the hands of large chocolate corporations, such as M&M/Mars and other members of the Chocolate Manufacturers Association of America, that manipulate the market to keep profits high while producer incomes stay low.
We need to come together in even larger numbers make it clear that we will accept nothing less than Fair Trade from M&M/Mars and the US chocolate industry.  We also need to work to make existing Fair Trade chocolate and cocoa products available in our communities through school/youth-club fundraisers, stores, campuses, community groups, faith-based groups, and more.  Join us today to make chocolate as sweet for cocoa producers as it is for you.  You can get involved wherever you are:
      Action opportunities for K-12 students, teachers, and parents; youth-based clubs groups      
      Action opportunities for universities/colleges; faith-based and community groups; workplaces; unions and more.      
      M&M/Mars Campaign - Demand corporate accountability from the world's largest retail chocolate manufacturer.      
      World's Finest Chocolate Campaign - Ask World's Finest to be a real leader in chocolate fundraising by offering Fair Trade!         
Chlld Labor.  Child Labour.

A child on the side of the road attempts to sell roses to passing commuters in cars and buses.

Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

Photo by
A child on the side of the road attempts to sell roses to passing commuters in cars and buses
Confessions of an H&M Addict
By Rachel Neumann
Posted July 1, 2005
How can H&M clothes be so cute — yet so cheap?    Afraid of the most probable answer, but too guilty to keep shopping, I decided to take a closer look.
Floating village
Mekong river
For those of us without much money but with a love of dressing up, H&M is our mecca.
But anything that looks that good on you and doesn't cost much must be part of some deal with the devil, right?
Especially if the tag says "Made in Cambodia."
I had long suspected H&M was engaged in unfair labor practices, but was afraid to find out.
After my last trip to one of New York's H&M stores, the guilt was too much.   So I started to do a little research.
I started with the H&M website, which had such a friendly and optimistic tone that I almost booked another flight back to New York.
The company is donating a lot of money to tsunami relief and working on a project to stop the spread of HIV in Cambodia.
Was this sop for a guilty conscience or a sign of a socially responsible business?
After all, Exxon gives money to environmental groups while simultaneously destroying the environment.
Shirts displayed in a store in US
I pressed on.
Finally, I found the "Code of Conduct" page.   Here's what it says:
"H&M does not have any factories of its own.
Instead we buy all our garments and other goods from around 700 suppliers, primarily in Europe and Asia.
Since we do not have direct control over this production we have drawn up guidelines for our suppliers, which together form our Code of Conduct.
This Code of Conduct is partly based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and ILO conventions on working conditions and rights at work.
It is there so that we can be sure that our products are produced under good working conditions."
The code includes requirements concerning the working environment, a ban on child labour (that's "labor" to us Americans), fire safety, working hours, wages, and freedom of association.
Apparently, H&M has regular inspections of the factories it works with.
And what if they find violations of, say, child-labor laws, for example?
The website assures me that they always act in the "best interests of the child."
They don't define who decides the best interests of the child, but still, H&M goes on with a reasonably well-thought out explanation, that is in line with the policy encouraged by Child Workers in Asia and other activist and advocacy support groups:
"On each individual occasion our ultimate aim is to help the child to a better future.
Our policy in respect of child labour must not result in children being kicked out of factories without any follow-up, with the risk that he or she will instead end up in heavier and more dangerous work or — in the worst case — in prostitution."
Descend stairs to
train station
They go on to say if they find two incidents of child labor in the same factory, they cease their involvement with that factory (which leaves the children in that factory out of luck, I suppose.)
Next, I downloaded H&M's just released Corporate Social Responsibilty Report.
The 2002 report has a cover sheet of a bunch of happy and well-dressed children, but by the 2004 report, these children have been replaced by a photograph of a young Asian woman with a grim expression and a blue apron.
This seems emblematic of the company's new approach, which is a change from primarily monitoring factories to make sure they're following the rules to addressing the "root cause" of labor problems.
I'm thrilled.
My favorite clothing store is apparently as radical and interested in fomenting revolution as I am.
According to Corporate Social Responsibility manager Ingrid Schullstrom, H&M's "core values" include not just getting women, men, and children into cute figure-flattering outfits, but also taking responsibility for the local communities the company works in.  And this seems to be working out financially for them as well.
H&M is planning to open 85 to 90 stores in the coming year.
All this was promising, but not quite convincing.
Of course H&M reps were going to say they were doing good works.
To find out more, I visited the folks at Students Against Sweatshops.
They didn't have anything listed against H&M, so I checked out Sweatshop Watch.
Nothing listed.
So far, so good.
Polluted river
But just when I was contemplating a new pair of aviator sunglasses, I discovered that UNITE HERE, the Union of Needletrades, Textiles and Industrial, Hotel and Restaurant Employees (basically, everyone connected to clothing and food), had organized a boycott campaign of H&M back in 2003.
The campaign alleged that H&M wouldn't allow U.S. workers to unionize, and there were concerns about how they treated their workers in Indonesia.
The boycott didn't gain as much grassroots support as many of their other campaigns, but the dispute between UNITE and H&M went all the way to the National Labor Review Board in November of 2004.
At that point, it seemed to die away.
Not able to find anything recent about the boycott, I called UNITE's Press Secretary, Amanda Cooper.
Ms. Cooper said that UNITE had worked out an agreement with H&M to represent its New Jersey Distribution Center workers.
"Oh," I said, "Does that mean that all the labor issues are resolved?
Is it okay to shop there?"
Ms. Cooper said there were some "complications" and she had to check.
She'd get right back to me.
When she came back on the line, she told me, "Yes.
We're still talking to them about some issues with their retail workers and garment workers, but basically it's okay to shop there."
While it was not the warmest endorsement I've ever heard, it was enough to ease my guilt.
Poorly paid workers wait in line for free food
Now I just have to wait for the West-Coast store to open.
I've always been a strong critic of consumer activism that focuses solely on where you shop and where you boycott.
An even cursory analysis of sweatshop conditions leads to the conclusion that transforming the World Trade Organization, and global trade agreements, so that people come before profit, would do a lot more for factory workers than just not shopping at your favorite cheap clothing store.
But in the meantime, I'd love it if one of the sweatshop watch places would post a list of stores the way health and environmental groups post lists of seafood, with each one color-coded.
Red would mean "don't shop there or you'll burn in hell."
Yellow (like H&M) meaning "okay for occasional splurges but nothing to be proud of" and green for "go ahead, these are the clothiers of the revolution."
Any takers?
Rachel Neumann is Rights & Liberties editor at AlterNet.
Solve the equation for me
"They go on to say if they find two incidents of child labor in the same factory, they cease their involvement with that factory (which leaves the children in that factory out of luck, I suppose.)"
Buys cereal
Ivory Coast
200 million children suffer from stunted growth due to chronic under-
Yes, it does.   Which way do you want it?   Child labor or unemployed children?
Cinderella Children
In 2004 I was accepted into the Warchild Just Act! Youth Conference here in Canada.   As part of my acceptance I had to complete an Action Plan that would further better our world, or at least raise awareness about it.
I have been an advocate of children's rights for several years now and am extremely happy to see that AlterNet is taking up the call in raising awareness about child labour.
My Action Plan consisted of researching where each store in my local mall made its clothing.
And loe and behold it isn't much of a surprise to see where they are produced.
Places I had never heard of before (Old Navy shirts are made in the Sultanate of Oman?) were making clothing for North Americans!
This further enhanced my inquiries and pursuaded me to check out several websites for and against certain stores (Gap for instance).
If anyone is interested in taking action against child labour and unsafe working cnditions (for all people not just children) I urge you to check out some of the following websites where students (such as myself) have forced their school boards into purchasing safe school uniforms, have protested creatively against Gap (we are called Gaptivists), and are selling sweat free clothing.
I further suggest that people read between the lines and honestly understand what companies are saying in their Codes of Conduct.   Just because a tag says that an article of clothing is Made in Canada... that could mean one button is sewed on here and the rest made by a 6 year old in China.
Please shop responsibly.               
© 2005 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
Chlld Labor.  Child Labour.

13-year-old Liyakot Ali works in a silver cooking pot factory in Old Dhaka.

The children work 10 hour days in hazardous conditions, for a weekly wage of 200 taka (4.5 Euro).

Dhaka, Bangladesh, June 2008. 

Photo by
13-year-old Liyakot Ali works in a silver cooking pot factory in Old Dhaka
The children work 10 hour days in hazardous conditions, for a weekly wage of 200 taka (4.5 Euro)
Dhaka, Bangladesh, June 2008

Funding Sweatshops Globally
Army day
by Stephen Lendman
October 16th, 2009
In July 2008, SweatFree Communities (SFC) released a report titled, "Subsidizing Sweatshops: How Our Tax Dollars Fund the Race to the Bottom, and What Cities and States Can Do" in which it studied 12 factories in nine countries that produce employee uniforms for nine major companies.
Widespread human and labor rights violations were revealed, including child labor:
Illegal below-poverty wages.
Few or no benefits.
Forced or unpaid overtime.
Hazardous working conditions.
Verbal, physical, and sexual abuses.
Forced pregnancy testing to be hired and while employed.
Excessive long working hours causing physical ailments, stress, and harm.
Denial of free expression, association, and collective bargaining rights.
Elaborate schemes to commit fraud and deceive corporate auditors.
In April 2009, Subsidizing Sweatshops II followed to provide more evidence of a global problem.
It tracked developments in four factories from the first report and four new ones in five countries on three continents producing uniforms for nine major firms in China, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and America.
Sakhir desert
Two cases relied on investigations by independent factory monitors.
Three others used personal worker interviews conducted by "credible local unions and non-governmental organizations with expertise in labor rights."
Three more are based on SFC-conducted interviews.
In all cases, the global economic crisis materially increased worker hardships leaving them more vulnerable, in jeopardy, and unable to secure their rights.
Most often, the following violations were found:
Children as young as 14 forced to work the same long hours as adults and under the same onerous conditions.
Wages so low, they only cover one-fourth to one-half of essential needs.
Workers in at least two factories not paid overtime.
Because of excessive production quotas, workers forced to skip breaks, not go to the bathroom, and work sick through grueling 12-hour or longer days.
Unhealthy work environments in stifling heat and thick fabric dust detrimental to health.
Numerous sewing machine accidents causing wounds and loss of fingers.
Instances of severe repression against union supporters and organizers, including harassment, intimidation, firing, and blacklisting from further employment elsewhere.
Graffiti reads in Spanish 'coup plotters'
The report's findings "are corroborated by scores of academic research and industry investigations."
Human and labor rights violations are the norm, not the exception.
Monitoring alone won't change them, but perhaps public disclosure can help.
The Honduran Alamode Factory
Employing about 500 workers, it makes public employee uniforms and other apparel for Lion Apparel, Cintas Corporation, and Fechheimer Brothers Company.
In 2008, the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) reported some of the worst working conditions in the region, but months later corrective measures had been taken, thanks to exposing the situation to public scrutiny.
Alamode agreed to pay minimum wages, provide back pay, enroll all workers in the Honduran social security system to give them access to health care, paid injury leave and other benefits, and establish an injury log as required.
However, other issues remained unresolved, including:
Further improvement of health and safety issues.
Ending verbal harassment.
Making overtime work voluntary, not mandatory.
Despite improvements, Alamode workers still earn sub-poverty wages, and full compliance with labor rights falls far short.
The Mexican Vaqueros Navarra Factory
The factory produces jeans and uniforms, including the Dickies brand.
In May 2007, its workers tried to form a union but faced extreme harassment and intimidation, as reported by a labor rights monitor on the scene. It's investigation:
"Found that workers had been psychologically and verbally harassed, dismissed without warning, and forced to sign resignation letters for attempting to form an independent union at the factory and that at least some workers dismissed for union activities have been blacklisted.... the official reason given for workers dismissed.... was 'lack of work.' "
Two months after voting to affiliate with the Garment Workers Union, employees were told the plant shut down for lack of work.
Yet three buyers, Gap, Warnaco, and American Eagle, placed orders with the factory in support of their right to organize.
15 year old at bus stop killed by police shooting alleged drug traffickers
Rosarito, Mexico
In July 2008, the Tehuacan Valley Human and Labor Rights Commission filed a complaint with WRC alleging that another Navarra Group factory, Confecciones Mazara, discriminated in its hiring practices.
WRC investigated and found "overwhelming evidence that Confecciones Mazara engaged in unlawful discrimination against union supporters in hiring decisions, otherwise known as 'blacklisting.' "
Twenty former Vaqueros Navarra workers applying for jobs were rejected. Another initially hired was fired on her first day after her former union organizing activities were discovered. In response to WRC complaints, the company refused to comply and continues its blacklisting practices.
The Dominican Republic's Suprema Manufacturing, Wholly Owned by Propper International (PI)
It operates three plants and employs about 1,000 workers making uniforms and other apparel items.
PI is one of the largest makers of US military clothing.
In 2008, Suprema Manufacturing's employees described low wages, high production quotas, unhealthy work conditions, and extreme hardships, all unaddressed by the company.
At the same time, PI distributed a threatening notice to its Puerto Rico workforce accusing the union and workforce of defamation.
The same notice said that SweatFree Communities' publications expressed "a defamatory tone toward Propper (alleging) that the Department of Defense is subsidizing companies with terrible work conditions, and safety and human rights violations."
The notice concluded saying:
In March 2009, Federation of Workers of Free Trade Zones (FEDOTRAZONAS) workers and volunteers and their counterparts at the National Federation of Free Trade Zone Workers (FENOTRAZONAS) conducted over two dozen interviews on behalf of SweatFree Communities (SFC).
They revealed extreme poverty, exhaustion, intense pressure to meet production quotas, an unhealthy work environment, and intimidation-instilled fear against openly supporting union organizing.
Even though Suprema has a certified union, only a handful of workers belong.
As a result, it's weak, unable to represent workers effectively or organize to recruit more.
Dominicana fashion week
Santo Domingo
Dominican Republic
Workers said to get by, they need other jobs and loans (at 10% weekly interest) to pay unexpected medical and other expenses.
Their work load is so exhausting, it makes "my whole body hurt," according to one employee.
"When I leave work, I am tired and exhausted.... All I want to do is lie down, but I have my obligations."
Another machine operator said:
"The work is hard and the production quota is killing us (and earning minimum pay) isn't enough for anything, for what's needed at home."
Other workers complained of health-related issues related to poor air quality, extreme heat, and fabric dust.
According to workers interviewed, they can't act individually or collectively to address issues as important as these or any others.
According to one:
"In the event that we complain, normally they don't listen to us but you have to suffer the consequences.
"One time I complained about the high temperatures in the factory and said it is not good for our health.
"And the manager said to me, 'If you are not comfortable you can leave."
Another worker said:
"We discuss problems at work amongst the other workers, but not with management because we are afraid.... If you complain too much, they fire you.
"So we don't complain because we need employment...."
They also fear recrimination over union organizing or joining one.
Workers today live in fear, endure harsh conditions, and put up with whatever they're ordered to do.
New Bedford, Massachusetts-based Eagle Industries
Outside White House
Washington DC
In 2000, 300 union members were fired. After reviewing the case, the Dominican Labor Department ordered 30 leaders reinstated with back pay.
When they returned, management ordered workers not to speak to them or be fired.Eagle
supplies tactical gear to the Pentagon and state governments.
In November 2007, it acquired a New Bedford, Massachusetts facility.
This facility had made headlines in March 2007 when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided the factory, discovered sweatshop conditions, and arrested hundreds of alleged undocumented workers.
In its 2008 report, SweatFree Communities (SFC) highlighted Eagle's failure to address abusive sweatshop conditions as well as its hostility to an ongoing union organizing campaign at the time.
In February 2009, SFC conducted in-depth interviews with eight union supporters and learned the following:
Eagle raised its minimum wage by 50 cents an hour to an average of about $9 an hour.
It included a week's vacation in worker benefits bringing the total to two, including an annual July shutdown.
A new sick day policy requires a doctor's note, and time off remains unpaid.
Workers expressed concerns over low pay, poor benefits, dangerous working conditions, and everyday harassment of union supporters by company managers.
Examples cited:
Machines need lots of oil; in operation, it "shoots into your eyes," according to workers.
Excessive heat, lack of circulation, smoke and oppressive smell causes dizziness, head and stomachaches, and for some vomiting.
Forklifts go everywhere and sometimes hit people, causing injuries.
Fabrics used are so heavy and stiff, they inflict abrasions, leave fingers bent and stiff, and cause chronic pain.
No health insurance is provided.
Without a doctor's note, no sick days are offered and if taken are unpaid.
Workers are constantly watched and checked, even when they go to the bathroom.
Action is taken against anyone suspected of supporting a union; new hires must sign a declaration agreeing not to join one.
Pressure and harassment are constant "to produce a lot.
Departments are shut down and workers reassigned to divide and separate them from each other.
As a result, workers feel a union is their only hope because it "offers a contract and a negotiating table with the owner of the factory where he will have to realize the suffering we have endured working for him for so long, making money for him so he will have a good future while our future is bleak," according to one worker.
Tijuana, Mexico's Safariland
Day of the dead
US border wall
A division of Armor Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BAE Systems, Inc., Safariland's 700 employees produce bulletproof vests and accessories, belts and personal accessories, and grenade and pistol holsters.
Workers told researchers that management told them in response to questioning to say everything is fine and not complain.
Reality, however, concealed lives of extreme poverty, living at home with:
"No water, no electricity, and no terrace.
"One room made of garage doors and cardboard.
"The electricity we have is stolen.
"We buy water because there is no running water.
"There is no floor.
"The roof is made of laminate and cardboard."
Workers expressed little hope for future change, even less now in economic crisis hitting Tijuana like most everywhere.
In recent months, thousands lost jobs, and when openings exist, long lines queue up to apply.
Women must take pregnancy tests, a violation of Article 3 of Mexico's labor law requiring equal treatment of both genders.
Article 26 requires worker contracts with wage guarantees, their amount, how they're paid, working hours, breaks, vacations, and other benefits.
Yet Safariland offers only temporary ones, then chooses whether or not to renew them, a violation of Article 37.
Pressure and harassment are constant to meet quotas, arrive on time, and respect supervisors.
Mexico City
Failure is punished by suspensions without pay for one to three days.
However, Mexican Labor Law is clear, yet Safariland disobeys it.
The Constitution's Article 123 establishes an eight hour work day, including breaks.
So does the Labor Law's Article 61 and under its Article 67, double pay is required for overtime.
In addition, Article 110 prohibits pay deductions for any reason, but Safariland gets around it by suspending workers.
Articles 177 and 178 let 14 - 16 year old minors work for up to six hours daily, including a one-hour rest after three hours, if they pass a medical examination.
Workers said children worked the same hours as adults.
They also reported dangerous and unhealthy conditions, including accidents with sewing and riveting machines and material cutters, resulting in wounds and lost fingers.
In addition, hazardous substances are used, including thinners, solvents, and Resistol 5,000 glue, the notorious narcotic used by Latin American street children.
Other complaints included supervisors' indifference to worker concerns, and according to one account:
"They do not listen to us, and if we complain they treat us like troublemakers."
Anyone caught supporting a union "would be fire(d) or at least consider(ed) troublemakers," said another.
"They would put us on the blacklist," a believed widespread practice in Tijuana.
The Dickies de Honduras Factory
Located in Choloma, its 1,000 workers produce apparel under oppressive conditions.
Wages are sub-poverty, and at best cover half a family of four's basic necessities.
Work days are long, 11 - 12 hour days, four days a week, and constant pressure to produce.
According to one worker, illness is no excuse for missing work.
Union organizing is forbidden, and those caught or suspected are fired.
One union leader explained how organizers are treated.
In 1998, Dickies fired 80 supporters. In 2003, alleged leaders were fired, then in 2005, 280 workers got legal recognition to form a union.
A month later, a Mexican Ministry of Labor representative and three union officials attempted to deliver official documents to the company.
They were denied entry.
The officials and others were fired, and Dickies stonewalled government summonses to answer for the action.
Other firings followed, and the company refused to recognize a union, bargain collectively with it, or address employee grievances.
Workers nonetheless persisted until the current economic crisis became challenging.
Claiming lack of orders and a need to cut costs, worker dismissals began in December 2008.
By March 2009, 58 were gone, in all cases for supporting a union, in violation of Honduran Labor Law's Article 96 that prohibits employers from "firing or persecuting their workers in any way because of their union affiliation."
China's Genford Shoes
Located in Guangdong Province, its 10,000 employees produce work, exercise, casual, and dress shoes, 80% for Ohio-based Rocky Brands.
According to the company, Genford is independently audited for social compliance, but SFC research found evidence of widespread labor law violations.
Workers are constantly pressured to produce for low pay under poor conditions:
New employees get no income for their first three days; they also must pay $4 for a physical examination, $10 for housing, and another $10 for ten days' meals in the company cafeteria - in total, around a week's wages.
Wages are sub-poverty.
No rest days are allowed for an entire month during peak production periods, in violation of Article 38 of China's Labor Law requiring at least one per week.
Children as young as 14 work the same hours as adults and are hidden when customers visit the factory.
Article 28 of China's Labor Law prohibits employing children under age 16.
It also protects 16 - 18 year olds from "over-strenuous, poisonous or harmful labor or any dangerous operation."
It requires employers to follow state laws regarding types of jobs, hours worked, and labor intensity for adolescents.
Excessive over time is mandatory at below the legal double hourly pay rate for daytime work on weekends.
By law, workers can cancel their labor contracts by giving 30 days notice, but are penalized by loss of wages when they do.
They live 12 to a room in crowded dorms of around 200 square feet with ten cold showers for 264 workers.
Pollution levels are oppressive; workers describe discharged black, foul smelling effluent into the adjacent river.
At the end of every work day, body searches are conducted, similar to but not full strip searches.
Genford employs a complex system of bonuses and fines to achieve output.
Khoten Green Jade
Qing Dynasty seal
Workers get bonuses for meeting quotas that must be maintained hourly, but no one understood how they're calculated.
They also complained that they're hard to reach, and they're constantly pressured to work faster for maximum production.
In addition, fines are levied for arriving a few minutes late, leaving early, skipping work, or causing trouble.
It's also not easy to quit even though Article 37 of China's Labor Law lets workers do it by giving 30 days advance written notice or three days during their probationary periods.
Employers must then fully compensate workers, but they don't.
Frackville, Pennsylvania's City Shirt Company
Its owner, Elbeco Inc., a producer of public employee uniforms, "was the first major uniform company to endorse SweatFree Communities' campaign for worker rights," and it shows in how it treats its employees.
According to one:
"I am pretty much able to cover my needs. Anybody can always use more money, but I do pretty well, I can say."
The average worker makes about $11 an hour, but some get up to $19 because the company is unionized and was able to bargain collectively for decent wages and benefits.
In addition, workers have "a seat at the table with the company.... affording them a sense of ownership and respect."
Underside of
18th century
City Shirt's employees are also much older than at other factories studied, a sign of greater stability and a contented workforce staying in place, happy to be there, and for many, hoping to stay for the rest of their working lives.
Yet they worry that their jobs may not last because of factors beyond the plant's control forcing layoffs to cut costs and stay viable.
Apparel manufacturing in America is dying.
In addition, the current environment is taking its toll closing factories across America, and City Shirt has had to cut one-third of its workforce in the past 18 months.
The alternative is the global sweatshop as oppressive or worse than the ones described above.
The company's employees hope to reach retirement age before their operation gets outsourced, but making it won't be easy.
In today's global economy, in good times and bad, worker rights are subordinated to greed and private profit, and future prospects look grim.
Job losses are continuing.
Wages are stagnating at best.
Benefits are eroding, and job security is a thing of the past at a time governments, in alliance with business, are indifferent to protecting them.
The result, more and more, is that workers are on their own to endure against very long odds.
It's all the more important for harder struggle because it's the only way they have a chance.
Anti-Sweatshop Legislation in Congress
On January 23, 2007, S. 367: The Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act was introduced in the Senate:
"To amend the Tariff Act of 1930 to prohibit the import, export, and sale of goods made with sweatshop labor, and for other purposes."
It was referred to committee but never passed.
On April 23, 2007, HR 1992: The Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act was introduced in the House for the same purpose.
It, too, was referred to committee but never passed.
Both bills were introduced in a previous congressional session and failed.
They may be re-introduced later in 2009.
Sweatshop labor takes different forms, some far worse than others.
On February 14, 2007, Charles Kernaghan, Executive Director of the National Labor Committee in Support of Human and Worker Right, testified about the worst kind at a Senate committee hearing on Overseas Sweatshop Abuses, Their Impact on US Workers, and the Need for Anti-Sweatshop Legislation.
Citing the December 2001 US - Jordan Free Trade Agreement, he gave examples of human trafficking and involuntary servitude abuses that followed:
Jordan's 114 garment factories employ over 36,000 foreign guest workers from Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka and India.
Bangladeshi guest workers had to borrow at exorbitant interest rates $1,000 - $3,000 to pay unscrupulous manpower agencies for two-to-three year contracts to obtain work.
They were trapped in involuntary servitude at one factory and couldn't leave.
They were promised benefits, then reneged on, including free food, housing, medical care, vacations, sick days, and at least one day a week off.
On arrival in Jordan, their passports were seized.
Review Bedouin guard of honour
They were forced to work shifts of "15, 38, 48, and even 72 hours straight, often going two or three days without sleep.
They sewed clothing for Wal-Mart.
Other Jordanian, Chinese and other factory workers are treated the same way.
Some worked under conditions so hazardous that "scores of young people (are) seriously injured, and some maimed for life."
They worked seven days a week for as little as 2 cents an hour, 98 hours a week.
Those complaining were beaten and abused.
28 workers shared one small 12 x 12-foot dorm with access to running water only every third day.
Legally owed back wages were never paid nor were factory owners prosecuted for human trafficking, involuntary servitude, or treating their employees abusively.
Kernaghan's National Labor Committee (NLC) web site highlights the problem by saying that corporate predators:
"Roam the world to find the cheapest and most vulnerable workers.... mostly young women in Central America, Mexico, Bangladesh, China, and other poor nations, many working 12 to 14-hour days for pennies an hour."
Corporate unaccountability is responsible for this moral crisis of our time - a dehumanized, expendable workforce ruthlessly exploited for profit.
NLC believes worker rights are as inalienable as human rights and civil liberties and says:
"Now is the time to secure them for (everyone) on the planet."
Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
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Chlld Labor.  Child Labour.

Children at a brick factory in Fatullah.

For each 1,000 bricks they carry, they earn the equivalent of 0.9 USD.

Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

Photo by
Children at a brick factory in Fatullah
For each 1,000 bricks they carry, they earn the equivalent of 0.9 USD
Dhaka, Bangladesh
John Pilger: G8 Will Not Ease Third World Poverty
Thursday, 7 July 2005
Green Left Weekly — Australia
Vicious, discredited economic programs
Displaced children
Afghanistan 2009
The illusion of an anti-establishment crusade led by pop stars — a cultivated, controlling image of rebellion — serves to dilute a great political movement of anger.
In summit after summit, not one significant promise of the G8 has been kept, and the “victory for millions” is no different.
It is a fraud — actually a setback to reducing poverty in Africa.
Entirely conditional on vicious, discredited economic programs imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the “package” will ensure that the "chosen" countries slip deeper into poverty.
Is it any surprise that this is backed by Blair and Brown, and US President George Bush (even the White House calls it a “milestone”)?
For them, it is a useful facade, held up by the famous and the naive and the inane.
Having effused about Blair, Geldof describes Bush as “passionate and sincere” about ending poverty.
Chlld Labor.  Child Labour.

A young girl working in a brick crushing factory in Dhaka. 

Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

Photo by
A young girl working in a brick crushing factory in Dhaka
Totalitarian corporations and their control
Kashmir children
Occupied presently by
troops of India
Bono has called Blair and Brown “the John and Paul of the global development stage”.
Behind this front, rapacious power can “reorder” the lives of millions in favour of totalitarian corporations and their control of the world's resources.
There is no conspiracy — the goal is no secret.
Brown spells it out in speech after speech, which liberal journalists choose to ignore, preferring the Treasury spun version.
The G8 communique announcing the “victory for millions” is unequivocal.
Under the section headline “G8 proposals for HIPC debt cancellation”, it says that debt relief will be granted to poor countries only if they are shown to be “adjusting their gross assistance flows by the amount given”.
In other words, their aid will be reduced by the same amount as the debt relief.
So they gain nothing.
Paragraph two states that “it is essential” that poor countries “boost private sector development” and ensure “the elimination of impediments to private investment, both domestic and foreign”.
The “$55bn” claimed by the Observer comes down, at most, to £1 billion spread over 18 countries.
Chlld Labor.  Child Labour.

Ten-year-old Shaifur working in a door lock factory in Old Dhaka.

Unlike his colleague, Shaifur works without a mask.

Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

Photo by
Ten-year-old Shaifur working in a door lock factory in Old Dhaka
Unlike his colleague, Shaifur works without a mask
Six days' worth of debt payments
This will almost certainly be halved — providing less than six days' worth of debt payments — because Blair and Brown want the IMF to pay its share of the “relief” by revaluing its vast stock of gold, and passionate and sincere Bush has said “No”.
The first unmentionable is that the gold was plundered originally from Africa.
The second unmentionable is that debt payments are due to rise sharply from next year, more than doubling by 2015.
This will mean not “victory for millions”, but death for millions.
At present, for every US$1 of “aid” to Africa, $3 are taken out by Western banks, institutions and governments, and that does not include the repatriated profit of transnational corporations.
Thirty-two corporations, all of them based in G8 countries, dominate the exploitation of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Take the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Thirty-two corporations, all of them based in G8 countries, dominate the exploitation of this deeply impoverished, minerals-rich country where millions have died in the “cause” of 200 years of imperialism.
In Ivory Coast, three G8 companies control 95% of the processing and export of cocoa, the main resource.
The profits of Unilever, a British company long in Africa, are a third larger than Mozambique's GDP.
One US company, Monsanto — of genetic engineering notoriety — controls 52% of South Africa's maize seed, that country's staple food.
Blair could not give two flying faeces for the people of Africa.
Chlld Labor.  Child Labour.

Children are compelled to work for long working hours with inadequate or no rest period.

They are paid with minimum wages and enjoy no job security.

Many people prefer to employ young boys to maximize services for these minimum wages.

Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2006. 

Photo by
Children are compelled to work for long working hours with inadequate or no rest period
They are paid with minimum wages and enjoy no job security
Many people prefer to employ young boys to maximize services for these minimum wages
Forcing privatisation of water for British investors
Ian Taylor at the University of St Andrews used the Freedom of Information Act to learn that while Blair was declaiming his desire to “make poverty history”, he was secretly cutting the government's Africa desk officers and staff.
At the same time, his “Department for International Development” was forcing, by the back door, privatisation of water supply in Ghana for the benefit of British investors.
This ministry lives by the dictates of its “Business Partnership Unit”, which is devoted to finding “ways in which DfID can improve the enabling environment for productive investment overseas and ... contribute to the operation of the overseas financial sector”.
Poverty reduction?
Of course not.
Instead, the world is subjected to a charade promoting the modern imperial ideology known as neoliberalism, yet it is almost never reported that way and the connections are seldom made.
In the issue of the Observer announcing “victory for millions” was a secondary news item that British arms sales to Africa had reached £1 billion a year.
Chlld Labor.  Child Labour.

Eight-year-old Razu works in a rickshaw factory.

He earns about 500 taka (10,6 Euro) a month, working 10 hours a day.

When the production often stops due to lack of electricity, he and his friend have time to play. 

Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

Photo by
Eight-year-old Razu works in a rickshaw factory
He earns about 500 taka (10,6 Euro) a month, working 10 hours a day
When the production often stops due to lack of electricity, he and his friend have time to play
More on interest of debt than entire health budget
One British arms client is Malawi, which pays out more on the interest on its debt than its entire health budget, despite the fact that 15% of its population has HIV.
Brown likes to use Malawi as an example of why “we should make poverty history”, yet Malawi will not receive a penny of the “victory for millions” relief.
The charade is a gift for Blair, who will try anything to persuade the public to “move on” from the third unmentionable — his part in the greatest political scandal of the modern era, his crime in Iraq.
Although essentially an opportunist, as his lying demonstrates, he presents himself as a Kiplingesque imperialist.
His “vision for Africa” is as patronising and exploitative as a stage full of white pop stars (with black tokens now added).
His Messianic references to “shaking the kaleidoscope” of societies about which he understands little and watching the pieces fall have translated into seven violent interventions abroad, more than any British prime minister in half a century.
Geldof, an Irishman at his court, duly knighted, says nothing about this.
Walks next to a health center
Barrio Adentro
Caracas, Venezuela
Look to Venezuela
The protesters going to the G8 summit at Gleneagles ought not to allow themselves to be distracted by these games.
If inspiration is needed, along with evidence that direct action can work, they should look to Latin America's mighty popular movements against total locura capitalista (total capitalist folly).
They should look to Bolivia, the poorest country in Latin America, where an indigenous movement has Blair's and Bush's corporate friends on the run, and Venezuela, the only country in the world where oil revenue has been diverted for the benefit of the majority, and Uruguay and Argentina, Ecuador and Peru, and Brazil's great landless people's movement.
Across the continent, ordinary people are standing up to the old Washington-sponsored order.
“Que se vayan todos!" (Out with them all!) say the crowds in the streets.
Much of the propaganda that passes for news in our own society is given to immobilising and pacifying people and diverting them from the idea that they can confront power.
The current babble about Europe, of which no reporter makes sense, is part of this, yet the French and Dutch “No” votes are part of the same movement as in Latin America, returning democracy to its true home: that of power accountable to the people, not to the “free market” or the war policies of rampant bullies.
And this is just a beginning.      
From Green Left Weekly, July 6, 2005.      
Chlld Labor.  Child Labour.

17.5 percent of children in the aged 5–15 are engaged in economic activities.

Many of these children are engaged in various hazardous occupations in manufacturing factories. 

Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2006.

Photo by
17.5 percent of children in the aged 5–15 are engaged in economic activities
Many of these children are engaged in various hazardous occupations in manufacturing factories
How can gifts that bring so much happiness have come from so much pain?
Valentine’s Day: Labor Conditions at US-Owned Plantations Show Hidden Realities of Flower Industry — Click Here
Nora Ferm of the International Labor Rights Fund talks about a new report on labor conditions at US-owned flower plantations in Colombia and Ecuador.
Beatriz Fuentes, President of the Sintrasplendor Union at Dole’s largest flower plantation in Colombia which has become the site of a growing worker’s struggle, joins us.
“Diamond Life”: Documentary Examines How Diamonds Funded the Civil War in Sierra Leone
— Click Here
We turn now to the issue of conflict diamonds—also known as blood diamonds.
The documentary “Diamond Life” looks at how diamonds funded the civil war in Sierra Leone.
Excerpt of “Diamond Life”, the documentary produced by Stephen Marshall and Josh Shore of the Guerrilla News Network.
Child Labor: The Hidden Ingredient to the Billion-Dollar Chocolate Industry?
— Click Here
On Valentine's Day, chocolate is the currency in which people are supposed to trade their love.
Little do they know that chocolate might have been made with slave labor. We speak with Brian Campbell, an attorney with the International Labor Rights Fund.
Global Witness Founder Charmian Gooch: “The Diamond Industry is Failing to Live Up to Its Promises” — Click Here
For more on the diamond industry, we’re joined by Global Witness founder and director Charmian Gooch.
Gooch says diamond companies have failed to deliver on promises to reduce the prevalence of blood diamonds.
Picture on right is of a child being followed by a vulture waiting for child's death due to starvation
Greg Palast on the Battle to End Vulture Funds
— Click Here
Greg Palast looks at the battle to end "vulture funds", where companies buy up debts of poor nations cheaply and then sue for the full amount.
Tends to dried fish
Chlld Labor.  Child Labour.

A child tends to dried fish on Sonadia island in Bangladesh in Patuakhali.

Dried fish is a popular Bengali food, and 50,000 men, women and children are employed in the industry in the coastal areas.

Around 300 tons of dry fish is produced each season, which runs from November to April.

Photo by
A child tends to dried fish on Sonadia island in Bangladesh in Patuakhali
Dried fish is a popular Bengali food, and 50,000 men, women and children are employed in the industry in the coastal areas
Around 300 tons of dry fish is produced each season, which runs from November to April
6.3 million children under 14 working in Bangladesh
When I asked permission of G.M.B.Akash to use his photographs, his email replied:
"If it is for good then you can use them."
I then sent a further email asking for some further description of his images.
His response was to send me the following text:
Description of project, *Title:   Born to work*
For the last three years I have been working on child labour in Bangladesh.
Child labour is forbidden in Bangladesh since 1992.
In December 2005 I visited a garment factory in Narayanganj, which is the center of the garment industry in Bangladesh.
I took a picture of the owner beating a 12-year-old boy because he had been too slow sewing t-shirts.
According to the UN Children’s Fund report, more than 6.3 million children under 14 are working in Bangladesh.
Many of them work under very bad conditions; some of them even risk their life.
Factory owners pay them about 400 to 700 taka (10 USD) a month while an adult worker earns up to 5,000 taka per month.
Everybody knows this, and for a long time nobody took care.
With my work I want to confront the people with the problem of child labour and motivate the people who begin to think about it — in Bangladesh where children are employed and in the rich countries of the Western world where products are sold that have been produced by children.
Some influential people in my country don’t want me to reinforce the bad image of Bangladesh.
But this is not my intention.
My intention is to start an improvement.
Showing the working conditions of the children doesn’t only mean to create shock-reactions — it could be a beginning of a change in thinking for parents who force their children to work for reasons of poverty as well as the factory owners and also the western consumers.
Once I took a picture of a seven-year-old boy working in a bulb factory.
His job was to check the bulbs by hanging them into an electric wire — without any protection.
He had to do this very fast and any small mistake would have killed him.
I only took two pictures before the manager threw me out of the factory.
I didn’t even have the time to ask the boy’s name. Sometimes I just climb over the fence to get into a factory to take pictures; sometimes — like in this case — I go there with a friend who pretends to want to talk to the boss while I run into the working place.
My intention is not only to show the children at work as victims of bad bosses exploiting them but I want to show the complexity of the situation:
The parents who send their little boy to work in a factory because they are poor.
The child that has to work to earn a living for the family.
The boss of the factory who is being pushed by big garment company to produce for less money.
And the Western consumers as clients who buy cheap clothes.
I think it is impossible to abolish child labour completely in Bangladesh in a very short time but I am sure it is possible to improve the working conditions of the children and to bring more children from factory work into the schools.
Click here for website of master photographer GMB Akash
As this page and the pages below show, Bangladesh is not the only country exploiting children workers — goods greedily lapped up by the US, Canada, and Europe people, and most other markets of the world.
Child labor for the use of the West, for countries world-wide, for the Bangladesh consumer, cheap clothing and cheap commodities of all kinds.
Eating lunch
Chlld Labor.  Child Labour.

Two child laborers eat lunch during a break at the factory where they work.

Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Photo by
Two child laborers eat lunch during a break at the factory where they work
Images from Zoriah — A photojournalist and War photographer can be found here
Vaccine pollution
This may sound familiar — the vaccine was promoted by national health organizations, the main stream news, schools, workplaces and on television to encourage everyone to get the jab.
More than 800 children across Europe have been diagnosed with this incurable neurological disorder and the evidence is overwhelming in the implication of the vaccine.
Florida Legislature Refuses to Limit Mercury in Vaccines.
US Supreme Court Immunizes Vaccine Makers
     Sweden: A Cautionary Tale About Vaccines       
     They play autism roulette with your child     
      These are what flu and 'swine' vaccines may contain     
GMO bioweapons gene modification and food
Roundup weedkiller found in 75% of Air and Rain Samples — environment saturated with GM agrichemical farming grid
By using genetic methods that are standard procedures in thousands of labs worldwide bioweapons can be made more virulent easier to handle and harder to fight.
Using genetic engineering techniques antibodies from women with infertility have been inserted into genes of ordinary corn seeds used to produce corn plants
What they do not tell the public is that they are using HEK 293 — human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce those receptors.
In 'defense' war programs researchers in the USA UK Russia and Germany have genetically engineered biological weapons agents building new deadly strains
       Antibodies from women with infertility used in creation of GMO food      
       Aborted fetal cells used in research of flavor enhancers      
     Scientists putting genes from human beings into food crops in dramatic extension of genetic modification.      
     Body Burden — cumulative synergistic effects      
Eric Harris age 17 — first on Zoloft then Luvox — and Dylan Klebold aged 18 —Colombine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado — killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves.
Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac — three times the average starting dose for adults! — when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota.   He then shot himself — 10 dead, 12 wounded.
Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke, Washington state High School, was on Paxil — which caused him to have hallucinations — when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage.   He has no memory of the event.
     The drugging of our children      
     32% of male convicts and 41% of female convicts previously used ADHD medication as children     
       People previously having ADHD drugs likely to commit burglary or theft     
       Afghanistan — Western Terror States: Canada, US, UK, France, Germany, Italy       
       Photos of Afghanistan people being killed and injured by NATO     
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