Thursday, May 08, 2008

What you're really buying...

...when you purchase products made in China.

China Says Abusive Child Labor Ring Is Exposed
Published: May 1, 2008
SHANGHAI — China said Wednesday that it had broken up a child labor ring that forced children from poor, inland areas to work in booming coastal cities, acknowledging that severe labor abuses extended into the heart of its export economy.

...Even factories that supply global companies, including Wal-Mart Stores, have been accused in recent years of using child labor and violating local labor laws. Big corporations have stepped up inspections of factories that produce goods for them. But suppliers have become adept at evading such scrutiny by providing fake wage and work schedule data that suggest they abide by labor laws. Experts say the labor problems discovered in Dongguan are not uncommon....

... The newspaper said recruiters and labor agencies working in Liangshan often selected and transported children south, where they were then “sold” to factories at virtual auctions in Guangdong Province.

At some coastal factories, children were even lined up and selected based on their body type, wrote the journalists, who also investigated factory areas in Guangdong.

The newspaper also said that children were paid about 42 cents an hour, far below the local minimum wage of about 64 cents an hour. By law, overtime pay is much higher...

...In its report, Southern Metropolis said some children were threatened with death if they tried to escape.

This is what you are supporting when you refuse to buy from American and European countries that have first world economies that protect workers, consumers, and the environment. You are paying executives to buy child slaves and kidnap poor adult workers (also mentioned in the article) who are then sold to the highest bidder and worked until they can't work anymore, for pennies an hour instead of living wages. You helped buy these slaves. You are responsible for every hour they suffered, because you keep buying the cheap sub-standard crap made in China instead of buying American and European products that reflect the real costs of doing business in an ethical and sustainable manner. There is no such thing as a free lunch - anyone who makes products cheaper than American or European companies are making the product in ways that we, as a society, have decided are unacceptable. And every time you give them a dime you are undermining your own children's futures. It's that simple.

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