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Child Labor

Sometimes the cases are truly horrific. "I remember walking into an assembly plant in Thailand a couple years ago and seeing six or seven little children, all under ten years old, sitting on the floor assembling counterfeit leather handbags, " the investigator told me as we drove away from the raid. "The owner had broken the children's legs and tied the lower leg to the thigh so the bones wouldn't mend. He did it because the children said they wanted to go outside and play."

This is a very short excerpt from the book of Dana Thomas entitled "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster". While some of you may think that this post might be better off in our sister site, Kikay Exchange, it is more fitting for it to be here as we are talking about children.

A few days ago, Ella was telling me that she had watched a video about child slavery. How the kids who were rescued had empty looks, how they could not smile nor play.

It must have been a heart-wrenching video that led her to say that she pledges to try very hard not to buy mass made items.

I was telling her that I could not imagine, for the life of me, what parents and what kind of people would do as I quoted above. That is downright cruel!

Part of the video she watched showed rescued children being sent back to their parents who even refused to take them back!!!! That makes me so angry! Why have them in the first place, right????

While I know I shouldn't be judgmental, why have the kid in the first place, right?? Is it because of lack of information in family planning? Was it because of religion? Was it because of lurv (*rolls eyes* we've heard this so many times!)? Was it because there was violence involved?

But there is NO EXCUSE to do that to children, right? (*sigh*...crumbles to tears) Whatever justification I make in my head, my heart cannot take. So why?? And how can we stop it? Perhaps following Ella's footsteps in not buy mass produced items is one. Let me know if you know of others.


Total votes: 104


Re: Child Labor

rinna's picture
Ok. That previous comment sounded really cold. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't think I'm being all noble by buying clothes from mass produced companies in order to provide these kids with jobs. I guess my question is, if we stop buying and the companies shut down or at least stop hiring these kids, will it really make life better for them?

Re: Child Labor

rinna's picture
I am feeling quite ambivalent towards the topic of child labor. Of course when abuse such as starvation, unhealthy work environment and physical abuse comes into play, I feel very strongly against that whether a child is involved or not. However on the subject of a minor doing labor per se, I find it very hard to be totally against this. Because if they're not in these factories, where else would they be? Out in the streets, doing drugs? Starving? Committing crimes? I find it very hard to impose morality on people who are starving. If we don't buy these mass produced items and they're out of jobs, where will they be?


Anonymous's picture
Well buying would also just support social injustice. It's the first step to stop buying products but the next step is also to support the fight against poverty. That's why most of the charities I support involve education, and job production in poor countries. It doesn't necessarily mean that if they're not in factories that they would be out doing drugs. That's why it's so important to produce other avenues for income production for families in these countries. Child labor is not wrong per se. I know in agricultural families they teach their children how to work and they value their work because they know they are helping their families. This is not child slavery. But when a child has no choice mali na yon. When a mother brings a child into the world so that she could sell that child, mali yon. Besides mass production per se is not uplifting. There is no job satisfaction in mass production. In the production of clothes, a machinist does one part of shirt 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days in a year. Walang sense of satisfaction that you created something. It's so dehumanizing. You feel like a machine also no better than a buttonholer, a serger, a hemmer.

Re: Rinna

rinna's picture

Thanks Ella for that perspective.
Napapaisip tuloy ako. I feel that there is so much to understand in social science and the different roles we play as well as the different hierarchies present in order for society to function well.

Re: Rinna

Anonymous's picture
this is ella by the way, i forgot to log in;)

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