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What are the issues involved in "sweatshops"?

Sweatshop conditions include excessive working hours, forced overtime, poverty wages, child labour, unsafe working conditions, discrimination, verbal and physical abuse. When workers try to organize a union, they are often fired.

A Sweatshop is a negatively connoted term for any working environment considered to be unacceptably difficult or dangerous - especially by those from developed countries with high standards of living. However, sweatshops may exist in any country. Sweatshop workers often work long hours for very low pay, regardless of laws mandating overtime pay or a minimum wage. Child labour laws may be violated. Sweatshops may have hazardous materials and situations. Employees may be subject to employer abuse without an easy way to protect themselves. Defenders of sweatshops, such as Paul Krugman, Nicholas Kristof, and Johan Norberg focus on the short term advantage to individuals, and the long term advantage to developing countries.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office defines a sweatshop as an employer that violates more than one federal or state labor law governing minimum wage and overtime, child labor, industrial homework, occupational safety and health, worker's compensation or industry regulation.

According to the International Labor Organization, 250 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are coerced into working. Many of these children are kept under force by confinement and physical abuse. Some are abducted and sold while others must simply stay at their place of employment. Given that information, Asia uses 61 percent, Africa 32 percent, and 32 percent in Latin America.

More than ever before, sweatshops are booming. Over halfthe garment companies investigated by the Labor Department are found to be breaking laws -- and that's not even counting the manufacturers that have their work performed outside the U.S., where some governments condone (and even encourage) sweatshop conditions.

The Department of Labor estimates that there are over 10,000 sweatshops in this country. Where are America's sweatshops? The government's most recent list of violators show Southern California in the lead. It was also near L.A. where last year police found the worst situation in memory. In a guarded apartment compound surrounded by high walls and barbed wire, Thai women were working 17-hour shifts for less than $2 per day. That clothing was sold at department stores like Macy's, Mervyn's, and Montgomery Ward.

Although the New York City area is close behind L.A. in the number of sweatshops found, this isn't just another "big city problem;" Garland Texas, roughly the same size as the Santa Rosa/Rohnert Park area, consistently appears on the Department's list. (Pity the employees of Truong Sewing as they make clothes for the "de corp" label, and those slaving away at JNT Sewing/Laurel Ann, as they sew garments for Focus Apparel Group of Dallas.)

With its high immigrant population, Garland offers cheap labor, and sweatshops appear wherever cheap labor can be found. And in this country, that usually means near Asian and Hispanic communities -- no different from conditions that produced the illfamed turn-of-the-century sweatshops, where European immigrants toiled in near-slavery conditions.

Governments should regulate good working conditions and enforce those regulations. Actually, many garment-producing nations have good legislation in this regard. The problem is that it isn't enforced properly. A major reason is that many countries where garments and sportswear are produced try to create an environment that is attractive to foreign investment. Incentives for foreign investors include not only low wages and taxes, but also the suspension of certain workplace and environmental regulations. If a government does attempt to strictly enforce these regulations, many investors will quickly pack their bags for Another Country that is even less strict and is more accommodating. As a result, all these countries compete against one another in a "race to the bottom." Bad working conditions are an international problem that will not be solved on a national level alone.

But it's also wrong to assume that governments have absolutely no control over foreign investments. And not all companies pack up and leave at the first signs of government regulations. So it is valuable to encourage governments to pressure companies to take responsibility for their labour policies and ensure compliance.


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Q: What effects do sweatshops have on people?
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Related questions

Where do children live that work in sweatshops?

sweatshops first started at the start of the world war one! people couldn't afford to but clothes so they sent their kids to sweatshops to work to get money for themselves

Are DC shoes made in sweatshops?

no, they are not, they are made by black people in africa

Do sweatshops contribute to sustainable properity for all people?

Even if something is sustainable it does not mean it is ethical. Sweatshops stay in business because people demand clothing at low prices. But the same people would demand a fair wage for doing that work. So poorer countries and poor people are victimized by sweatshops. When buyers can confirm a certain brand uses sweatshops, buyers protest--- but before too long, they forget morality and justice and buy cheap clothes again.

How many sweatshops are there in the world?

There are over 3000 sweatshops in the World

Is free people clothing made in sweatshops?

no they're found in value village...

How many people die in sweatshops a year?

there is over 1000 deaths a year

What is the percent of kids who work in sweatshops?

Very young. About... 6 from what people know.

Does Hollister use sweatshops?

YES HOLLISTER DOES USE SWEATSHOPS!!!!Yes they use sweatshopsHollister they use sweatshops this is a haikuDoes anyone know where they are

About how many people work in sweatshops worldwide?

180 people in the uk and 218 million world wide

Why are there sweatshops?

People are looking for ways to cut cost in creating product. When one of them would rather cut corners and save money rather than pay proper wages, sweatshops are created.

What are the pros and cons of sweatshops?

Sweatshops are cheap to run. The workers are from very poor countries and they will work for extremely low wages. It is wrong to exploit people because they are so desperate for money and the conditions are horrible.

What is an effect of outsourcing jobs?

The creation of sweatshops