Converse Against Slavery

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST FORCED LABOR

Some of the most popular clothing and footwear brands manufacture their products at factories where workers are mistreated and receive very little pay. Forms of mistreatment include child labor, exposure to dangerous chemicals, and physical and verbal abuse.

A Grim Outlook

Most Americans have the privilege of working in an environment where they are protected by laws regarding safety in the workplace and minimum wages. However, many American companies manufacture their products in factories overseas where the workers are not protected by the same laws. For instance, a factory in the Philippines manufacturing Abercrombie & Fitch clothes uses child labor to make their products. These children work long hours, in dangerous working conditions, and earn less than minimum wage. However, this does not only apply to clothing brands. Workers at Apple factories are forced to stand for 24 hour shifts, in many cases so long that their legs swell and they can barely walk. The workers are exposed to dangerous toxins and, in one case 2 years ago, about 140 workers were killed when using a poisonous chemical to clean iPhone screens. Eventually, the situation got so bad that workers attempted to commit suicide by jumping from the top of the building, so nets were set in place to prevent this from happening.

Time For Change

The shoe company Converse attempts to eradicate all kinds of forced labor including prison labor, indentured labor, bonded labor, and human trafficking from their direct supply chains. They carefully evaluate factories before they enter Converse's supply chain. Other companies have the ability to help fight against slavery and unfair working conditions by following in Converse's footsteps and refusing to utilize factories that take advantage of workers.