Human Rights

Sweatshops + Child Labour

Child Labour

How are people affected annually by sweatshops and child labour?

Some conditions or effects of child labour and sweatshops include excessive working hours, forced overtime, poverty wages, unsafe working conditions, discrimination, verbal and physical abuse. When sweatshop workers try to form a union they often get fired. In developing countries, an estimated 250 million children ages 5-14 are forced to work in sweatshops.

Where in the world are these issues happening most?

Child labour and sweat shops are mainly an issue in undeveloped countries (such as, China, India, Pakistan and many other countries) , yet people think that Canada and the U.S.A are exempt from this. In 2000, more than 11,000 sweatshops in the U.S. violated the minimum wage and overtime laws, while over 16,000 had broken health and safety laws. This shows that even some of the most developed countries still have issues with worker and human rights violations.

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What is being done to help people suffering from these infractions?

One of the things which is being done to end child labour and sweatshops is organizations such as Unicef, Students Against Sweatshops, and many more are raising awareness and donating to the cause. There are people trying to protest against child labor in other countries, but there is not much we can actually do unless we were to “invade and take over the entire country” and change the laws.

How can students help to raise awareness and help people with this issue?

Assemblies at school are one great way to reach many people with your message and raise awareness for your social issue. Most teachers will be glad to help out if you have a just cause. Nowadays, social networking sites are a great help. Social networking is very easy to access from anywhere with an internet connection. Creating a Facebook group and simply discussing issues with friends can take very little time and effort if you want a help any cause.

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Facts about child labour and sweatshops

  • One in six children 5 to 14 years old — about 16 percent of all children in this age group — is involved in child labor in developing countries.
  • In the least developed countries, 30 percent of all children are engaged in child labor.
  • Worldwide, 126 million children work in hazardous conditions, often enduring beatings, humiliation and sexual violence by their employers.
  • An estimated 1.2 million children — both boys and girls — are trafficked each year into exploitative work in agriculture, mining, factories, armed conflict or commercial sex work.
  • The highest proportion of child laborers is in sub-Saharan Africa, where 26 percent of children (49 million) are involved in work.