Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Brief Change of Pace...(and a little ranting too)

Disturbed. I am just disturbed. As our nation increases its consumer awareness regarding food (a big thank you to Michael Pollan and Alice Waters) we, the consumers have been able to turn the food industry around. I am so proud to be an American at times like these, where We the People can truly make a difference.

However, in months of late, my attention has been drawn to a new challenge, a new even more morally disgusting problem. Have you looked at the inside tag of your shirt lately? Do you know where it was made? I can almost guarantee it wasn’t made in the USA. So, why is this a problem you might ask?? Here it is: In the US , the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) sets 14 years of age as the minimum age for employment, and limits the number of hours worked by minors under the age of 16. The FSLA also requires that minors not take part in hazardous working conditions. Besides minors, there are a plethora of rules and requirements that protect the worker in the USA. Very few other countries that currently manufacture products have this same protection for their workers. Slave labor, child slave labor, and hazardous working conditions are used in almost any country you might find on the inside tag of your shirt, pants, or Christmas decorations including China, India, Brazil, Bangladesh, Jordan, and Honduras.

Many a watchdog group has made efforts to expose the secrets of the money hungry clothing industry: the International Labor Rights Forum and our own US government, to name a few, but it would appear that consumers aren’t affected by this information…yet. Could it be that the bottom line of cost of the product is more important to us than monetarily supporting slave labor? Could it be that we have become happy in our large suburban homes and continue to shop at the nearest super center to support our lifestyle? Next time you see that adorable item at the store for your little one, consider for a moment that another little one may have made it for her.

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