Literature Review on Garment Sweatshops

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“Garment Sweatshops in El Salvador”

A great number of large companies located in the United States and parts Europe hire subcontractors in third world countries, like El Salvador to manufacture their apparel, which go for sale at very high prices. Most of these factories where the labor is being done are located in so called free-trade zones. The renters of these factories do not have to pay taxes except for the export tariffs, which are quite low because of the product that is being exported. The majority of workers found in sweatshops are women between the age of eighteen and thirty, who come from low-income families. These women are working long shifts and are being under paid and their working conditions are horrible. Therefore, the question remains as to why are sweatshops still in business even after the various information published about the harm they are to helpless women. Many scholars claim that the companies are not aware of the mistreatment to the employees and blame the subcontractors, others blame it on globalization. Yet there are many that claim that the working conditions have gotten better thanks to the unions formed to protect the rights of workers.

There have been various cases in El Salvador where women have been hospitalized because of the working conditions in these factories. In her essay, “The Ideal Sweatshop? Gender and Transnational Protest”, Ethel Brooks analyzes the hardships women have had to deal with in the past years while they worked under horrible conditions. She gave a perfect example of a sweatshop factory back in November 1997, DINDEX that was located in one of the free-trade zones in San Salvador that produced garments for local and international markets. This factory mainly employed women, and there were more than 200 of them. One morning a couple of women just having awful symptoms of dizziness, nausea and eventually suffered from fainting spells and convulsions. There were various factors that the hospital...
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