Sweatshop Essay

1766 Words 8 Pages
The rapid globalisation of the economy and the expansion of international trade during the mid to late 20th century have played a pivotal role in today’s increase of multinational ‘sweatshop’ practices. In recent decades, the issue of ‘sweated labour’ has received a great deal of publicisation in industrialised nations. Thousands of anti-sweatshop activists have targeted multinational firms in the textiles, footwear and apparel (TFA) sectors, and campaigned in protest of the exploitation of workers in developing countries. Protests have primarily taken place through the forms of: direct government pressure for minimum wage increases legislation changes in developing countries; boycott movements; and media awareness campaigns in regards to the …show more content…
The International Labour Organisation (ILO), in collaboration with various activist campaigns, endeavours to provide acceptable alternatives to children exploited by sweatshop labour (ref). In 2000, activist pressure resulted in joint initiatives involving industry, government and ILO forces successfully providing educational alternatives for displaced children workers in several Bangladesh and Pakistani garment industries. Over 12 000 children were transferred from sweatshops to school in Bangladesh. (ILO, 2000) Five years later, child labour shares in the workforce fell from an estimated 30 percent to 5 percent. Meanwhile, external intervention and assistance have provided better opportunities to thousands of children in Pakistan (Elliot & Freeman, 2001). Similarly, the European initiative Rugmark is a direct result of external pressure from activists and international organisations including UNICEF. A 1 per cent premium on Rugmark-labelled carpets is expended to a UNICEF administered fund providing schools and rehabilitation centres for child labourers dismissed from carpet factories in developing nations (ref). Nonetheless, despite numerous examples of successful strategies against sweatshops condoning child labour, several campaigns do not consider the consequences of the potential dismissal of underage workers. One example …show more content…
Boycotting refers to the ‘[refusal] to buy, use, or participate in (something) as a way of [protest] …’ (Merriam-Webster, n.d). Advocates of boycotting items produced through sweatshop labour claim that mass boycotts will force foreign companies to improve employee wage and working conditions. However, numerous studies have reported several TFA sweatshop firms cutting employment and shutting down operations due to international consumer boycotts in the mid-1990s. (LW) In 2002, Nepal Carpet Exporters Association President Kavindra Nath Thakur emphasized that international boycotts and Labour Union demands are a major contributing factor to the Tibetan carpet industry’s recent losses to regional and international competitors. The decline in sales resulted in the loss of work for thousands of employees. Extensive research has not revealed any evidence of positive boycotting outcomes on sweatshop labour forces. This suggests that attempts to enforce labour standards through mass boycotts are likely to cause economic harm to most exporting developing

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