Essay on United Students Against Sweatshops

Essay on United Students Against Sweatshops

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United Students Against Sweatshops


Sweatshops are an issue in today’s society, although their existence is often times hidden from the public’s eye. As the well known author Berry states, “ most of us get all the things we need by buying them and most of us know only vaguely, if at all, where those things came from; and most of us know not at all what damage is involved in their production. We are almost entirely dependent on an economy of which we are almost entirely ignorant.” How many of you know where the clothes you are buying come from? Most people wouldn’t support the exploitation of their own race, if they could see and understand what is happening.

Picture yourself in a large, dimly lit factory. It is 9 p.m. now and you’ve been working since 6 a.m.. The air is dusty and dirty, making it hard to breath. Blisters and sores cover your hands, but there is no bleeding today (yet). You glance at the clock and let out a sigh. One more hour left to go. At the end of the day you will have earned 27 cents. This figure will pay for about 1/3 of your day to day living costs. This is the life of a typical sweatshop worker. Many of these workers are children.

Iqbal Masih was one of the many children who experienced conditions similar to these. A small, sickly boy, Masih began working in a sweatshop at age 4. His growth was stunted by malnutrition, carpet dust, and beatings he received as punishment for his repeated escape attempts and occasional refusal to work. Masih finally escaped his bondage at age 12 with the help of the Bonded Labor Liberation Front. He became a spokesman for the bonded children of the world. However, he was murdered in 1992 by the “carpet mafia,” a group of carpet manufacturers who...


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As students, you all have power. As consumers, you all have power. You have the power to support the basic freedoms promised to you and the power to acknowledge that every human being should have these rights. As consumers you have the power of choice. You can choose to buy or not to buy, and you can choose what you buy. I am not asking you to boycott your favorite store. I am asking you to take a step back and question corporations about their ethical standards. I am asking you to support anti-sweatshop legislation from funding for labels to the enforcement and standardization of codes of conduct. I am asking you to question your administrators about the items sold by YOUR school. Make the companies and authorities realize you care. We can solve the larger problem by solving the smaller ones, one by one. After all, isn’t the customer always right?

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