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Do you know where your shirt came from, or your jeans? It most likely came from another country and children’s sweat and hard work went into making it. It doesn’t occur to you when you buy something or wear clothes that the process by which it was made could have been harmful and degrading to a child. Child slave labor is a constant issue that surrounds us without us even recognizing it. To most, the thought of children being forced to work or being paid below minimum wage and being mistreated is not something that we think of that actually happens. All around the world children are mistreated and nothing is being done to prevent this from occurring. A big offender in this issue would be Wal-Mart. This is evident in many ways and makes people more aware of the issue of child slave labor.
It all started because Wal-Mart is the most powerful company in the world and has no real competition. Wal-Mart is more powerful than any other retailer has ever been and uses its power to bring the lowest possible prices to its consumers. Their policy is that prices they charge shoppers must drop year after year hence the labor must become cheaper so they don’t lose any money. To keep up with their dropping prices they closed U.S factories in order to import more from overseas and save a lot of money. This is when child slave labor became a prominent issue because the overseas companies subjected children to work and under hazardous conditions (Fishman).
In 2003, it was recorded that there were 246 million child laborers in the world and the number is increasing. Many companies use cheap child slave labor in third world countries in order to make a large profit. Young children are forced to work in sweatshops and produce shoes, clothing, toys and other products. Wal-Mart is a huge contributor to this issue because they encourage the cheap labor in order to save money.
Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the United States, with over one million workers. It is the largest food retailer and the third largest pharmacy in the nation but a company like this does not come without negative traits. Even in the United States Wal-Mart, workers earn a lower hourly wage than other retail workers do, and this is where it all begins (Thomas).
Wal-Mart factories in China are horrible. The average pay in there, “Special Economic Zones”, is three cents an hour and even the best workers will receive at most ten cents an hour. There are some workers who make a profit of 36 cents a month; no normally, person could survive on those types of wages. The Wal-Mart workers are like slaves and suffer unjust treatment. At the Qin Shi factory in China, thousands of women work 98-hour weeks but profit less than 22 dollars weekly. They suffer inhuman conditions because of the machines, toxic glues, dust and chemical solvents. Sometimes the workers need to stay extra hours and no get paid if the daily quotas have no yet been met. They workers show a lot of dedication and hard work but seem to receive nothing in return (Glass).
Another company in China that Wal-Mart buys many goods from is Ching Hai Electric Works Co. in Shanjing, which makes electric fans. In the late 1990’s, Wal-mart made demands that the prices of fans be lowered, and costs changed to about $4 per fan. Because of them forcing a lower price, the manager had to cut its workforce in half while still producing the same number of fans as previously. This caused there workers to work approximately 14 hour days and still receive the low wages of about $32 per month. Wal-Mart forcing the lowering of prices did not think about the consequences of there actions and how that decision would affect the workers.
Most Wal-Mart factories are sweatshops where there workers rights are violated just like at the Beximco factory in Bangladesh, which makes products for them. Young women there are forced to work from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week and are paid from 9-20 cents an hour. If these conditions don’t seem harsh, these women as also denied health care and maternity leave. They may only use the restrooms sporadically and are monitored doing so. They endure this torture because they need the job and put up with the streaming and badgering of their bosses (Fishman).
Wal-Mart participates in many unfair labor practices around the world and therefore some people and companies have decided to boycott it. This chain mistreats there employees and violate the rights of their workers around the world. They endure protests and lawsuits but have no desire to correct the problems.
Wal-Mart is notorious for exploiting poor people in third world countries. Approximately 22,000 children die a year because of labor related diseases in countries like China, Nepal, and Indian, countries whom Wal-Mart buys most of there products from. Wal-Mart takes advantage of about destitute people in 48 countries all over the world (Jacobs).
Although Wal-Mart states that it doesn’t support child labor, it won’t release its Chinese shops nor allow inspection of these factories in other countries. Since the Chinese government doesn’t permit human rights, Wal-Mart is able to take advantage of them and the workers, while stay in the confines of the law.
Based on knowing this information bunches of people have been refusing to shop at Wal-Mart because they disagree with its policies. This is causing Wal-Mart to lose business as well as money. People aren’t comfortable buying products when they learn all the suffering and mistreatment of children that went into making the products to begin with. Some are boycotting shopping at Wal-Mart and it’s sending a clear message to other to follow in their example. Other places to shop have good deals and products but don’t degrade other individuals while making those products (Freeman).
With the public aware of the child slave labor going on, the companies should realize the necessity to make some changes. The people can make an impact and save many lives. The workers conditions and pay should be improved as well as the treatment of the workers. Children should be education instead of always being forced to work from such an early age. Everyone must work together in an attempt to reform companies such as Wal-Mart who think this treatment of other human beings is acceptable when it clearly is not (Embar).
Throughout the world, child slave labor is a prevailing issue that all of us have to acknowledge at some point in time. Most companies take part in this horrific deed in an effort to make as much money as possible at the expense of others. Wal-Mart is a predominant culprit of having sweatshops around the world making their items. People need to be aware of the ways children are treated in these factories and join the effort to save them. Wal-Mart is a dangerous company to many people in other countries, we need to relieve the effects it causes and prevent them from doing more damage. Children are in danger as well as other people, imagine that was you, what would you want being done. Is the cost of cheaper clothing and other items really worth it?