The Kids Who Make Our Clothes
by Alexander Reed Kelly
In spite of decades of international campaigns against child labor, children in Bangladesh as young as 10 years old continue to sew shirts and pants at all hours of the day and night.
Many of the 4.7 million kids working in Bangladesh come from rural areas where school is not an option. Indeed more than half of them have never been to school. In their labor, some oversee large industrial sewing machines. Others use glue to fix sequins on dresses. Their minimum wage is $39 a month. In a 12-hour shift, an average child worker will handle more than 1,400 shirts.
The children report being routinely slapped and beaten, sometimes falling down from exhaustion, forced to work 12 to 14 hours a day, even some all-night, 19-to-20-hour shifts, often seven days a week, for wages as low as 6 ½ cents an hour. The wages are so wretchedly low that many of the child workers get up at 5:00 a.m. each morning to brush their teeth using just their finger and ashes from the fire, since they cannot afford a toothbrush or toothpaste…
(read more: Popular Resistance)
* What do we do about this?