by Ken Thompson
Everyone loves a good deal, yet few consider that many low-priced consumables are mass-produced through exploitation of children in developing countries. Child labour both causes and perpetuates poverty. It is directly supported by multinational corporations actively seeking markets where wages are low, unions are outlawed, and desperate people will work for almost any price.
In North America, out of sight equates to out of mind, but ignorance is not bliss…at least not for the millions of victimized children slaving to supply our insatiable appetite for cheap products. Sweatshops are located in India, Indonesia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Africa, and China--to name just a few.
According to the United Nations International Labour Organization, over 200 million child laborers around the world fall between the ages of 10 and 14.
Twenty-five per cent of Africa’s children are burdened with long work hours for extremely low wages. It is estimated that 15,000 children are trafficked–sold, or lured by promises of good wages and easy work on one of 600,000 cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. Once there, resistance is futile. Escape attempts are met with swift punishment–torture.
Seven per cent of all children in Latin America between 5 and 14 are child laborers. At least 26% of an estimated 18 million children are forced to toil at harvesting coffee beans, working with toxic, explosive chemicals and pesticides, or operating dangerous machinery. Hidden away in unsafe workshops, small children produce fireworks and other explosives; some die; others are injured.
Behind barbed wire and locked metal gates, 18% of all children in Asia labor to produce merchandise. In Kanchipuram, Southern India 1 in 5 children are working factory looms 12 hours a day 7 days a week, with 1 day off per month. Modern-day slaves in the 21st Century; their recompense is a mere 30 US cents per day. Read more »