Child Labor Feeds Global Market Profits
Kamm, Lynn, National Catholic Reporter
Nineteen-year-old Nazma Akther of Bangladesh traveled halfway around the world last September to tell U.S. senators about the cruelty of child labor in the garment industry of her country.
Akther testified before a hearing called "child Labor and the New Global Marketplace. Reaping Profits at the Expense of Children@, She told of starting to work at age 11 as a helper in the Shams Garment Factory in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Seventy hours a week, Akther supplied sewing-machine operators with materials and transported garments to the finishing room. She was paid $8 a month. Her employers beat her for being tardy or for making mistakes.
The Shams factory, according to a 1191 statement from the Food and Commercial Workers union women's network, was among several factories in Dhaka supplying clothes to the WalMart department-store chain in the United States.
Child labor is cheap labor. And developing countries like Bangladesh commonly disregard their own child-labor laws because cheap labor entices multi-national corporate investors to their shores.
In some cases, according to a U.S. Labor Department report, "By the Sweat and Toil of Children@ The Use of Child Labor in American Imports," released in September, government policies to promote exports produced through intensive use of low-skilled labor, such as garments and carpets, "may have resulted in an increase in the demand and use of child labor."
With economic globalization, governments in developing countries view growth in labor-intensive export industries as the key to securing a …
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Publication information: Article title: Child Labor Feeds Global Market Profits. Contributors: Kamm, Lynn - Author. Magazine title: National Catholic Reporter. Volume: 31. Issue: 13 Publication date: January 27, 1995. Page number: 10+. © 2009 National Catholic Reporter. COPYRIGHT 1995 Gale Group.
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