Sweatshops In The United States

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Many people believe sweatshops are a thing of the past, but the sad reality is they are still prominent, not only in foreign countries but also right here in the United States. Sweatshops violate human rights, and many big companies we are familiar with are at fault. The term “sweating system” or “sweatshop” first originated in the 1840’s. The earliest definitions of the term did not relate to the actual conditions of the workshops, instead it referred to the relationship between the workers, producers, and designers. How it originally worked was designers of garments would contract with many different small shops. The early sweatshops were in homes, and each shop would work on a part of the garment and would be paid by the piece they completed …show more content…
Sweatshops are attractive to people in places that have fewer employment options, a lack of social services, and impoverished living conditions (Radin, 265). This is often the case in underdeveloped countries. In developing countries sweatshops often involve child labor as well, and the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that 250 million between the ages of 5 -14 work in sweatshops in developing countries (Lendman). The United States has a much stricter policy on age in the workplace, and under the Fair Labor Standard Act legally one must be 14 to work and minors under the age of 16 are limited to work a certain amount of hours and are prohibited to work under hazardous conditions. Despite the fact that child labor in sweatshops is not a big issue in the United States, sweatshops still remain an issue. In fact, “In America, the US Department of Labor estimates that half or more of the nation's 22,000 garment factories are sweatshops, mostly in the apparel centers of New York, California, Dallas, Miami and Atlanta” …show more content…
”It is illegal to sell garments made in domestic sweatshops, but many retailers will turn the blind eyes and feign ignorance of labor problems in their supply chain” (Tarver-Wahlquist). Retailers’ primary goal is to make money, and because of this many companies regret to consider the conditions in which people work in their factories overseas. Instead, these companies outsource to the cheapest place possible so they can provide consumers here in the United States a better deal on products which in turn benefits them because consumers will purchase more of their products. So retailers ultimately benefit from sweatshops as they can produce for a cheaper price and continue to make money in their home country by reducing prices for consumers. This is harmful because we continue to buy these cheap products knowing they are made in sweatshops, and these products are so cheap because of the small wages these people are being paid in other countries. For example a big retailer H&M sells cheap clothing and many people buy from this company because of the cheaper prices, but what most people don’t know is many of their factories in different countries have lockable doors that might prevent workers from leaving the factory in an emergency, and these doors are

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