Sweat Shops Essay

Topics: Sweatshop, Abuse, Exploitation Pages: 7 (1193 words) Published: March 29, 2007

What is a sweatshop really? Well the American Heritage Dictionary defines a sweatshop as a shop or factory in which employees work long hours at low wages under poor conditions. If someone had heard this definition of sweatshops they would go straight to the assumption that sweatshops are not good. But they do have some good in them. They keep workers away from bad things such as prostitution and crimes. They also boost the countries economy and give them a means of survival. That's what sweatshop defenders would say which is not completely true. Not only do sweatshop workers not get enough money to feed themselves and their families, they are subjected to exploitation, and horrible working conditions.

Firstly Sweatshops are bad because pay isn't even enough to feed themselves and

their families. They are paid less than their daily expenses and are never able to save any

money to improve their lives. They are trapped in an awful cycle of exploitation. There

are hundreds of stories of sweatshop workers not receiving enough money to support

themselves and their families. For example in China, workers at Wellco Factory making

shoes for Nike are paid 16 cents/hour(living wage for a small family is about 87 cents),

11-12 hour shifts, 7 days a week, 77-84 hours per week; workers are fined if they refuse

overtime, and they're not paid an extra rate for overtime hours. Also in a village in the

Mekong delta in Vietnam women and children sit all day in the burning scorching sun

from five in the morning until five in the evening making straw beach mats. For their

labour they receive $1 a day.

Secondly sweatshops are bad because they treat employees badly. These

Bangladeshi women will further prove the horrible treatment sweatshop workers face in a

daily bases. Women in Bangladeshi factories labour 12 to 14 hours a day, seven days a

week with just one or two days off a month. During busy times, 20-hour, all-night shifts

are mandatory. Additionally, the women are always under the threat of physical

punishment. The women are verbally abused, spat on, slapped, punched, and even beaten

with sticks. They are not allowed to take breaks or go to the bathroom during their shifts,

and are fined if they do so. For example, in some Indonesian sweatshops, women were

forced to take down their pants and reveal to factory doctors that they were menstruating

in order to claim their legal right to menstrual-leave (Morey, 2000). Female sweatshop

employees are forced to endure numerous instances of sexual harassment. Furthermore,

managers often make false promises for better jobs in return for sexual favors. Wages are

far below Bangladesh's legally required minimum. Any attempt to form a union results in

illegal mass firings. All of these abuses violate Bangladesh's own labour laws.

Thirdly sweatshops are bad because the working conditions are horrific. Many of

these factories are crowded, filthy, and rat-infested. They are located behind barbed wire

fences that are monitored by armed guards. Not only are the women not allowed to come

and go freely, but they are forbidden to have visitors. Thus, they are not given the

opportunity to air their grievances to anyone who may be in a position to help them. In a

Samoan apparel plant, the factory owner routinely entered the women's' barracks to

watch them shower and dress. A 20/20 special investigation, (2000) showed that women

in Spain that were pregnant employees were forced to have abortions in order to keep

their jobs. These women are often faced with little if any choices. They are prohibited

from unionizing, and face the loss of their job, physical abuse, or deportation if they try

to better their situation.

Firstly sweatshops are good because it keeps workers away from bad things such crimes. Some may say that these...
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