Wednesday, April 9, 2014

No Sweat: The Dilemma of Sweatshop Labor

Sweatshop labor in the fashion industry is an ongoing dilemma. As consumers we promote businesses that abuse their sweatshop workers. We contribute to the vicious cycle by blindly purchasing their clothes, thus raising their profits. Did you ever think about who made the clothes you are wearing? How many brands do you know that use sweat shop labor? The Hall of Shame includes, Wal-Mart, Nike, GAP, Victorias Secret, Gymboree, Forever 21, H&M, Zara and many more.

What can we do as consumers to put a stop to this? 

Here is what one concerned citizen is doing. Tom Kavanaugh is trying to raise funds for a documentary he wants to make which was inspired by his trip to Bangladesh. The documentary, titled No Sweat, is set to trace popular clothing items back to the people that made them, tell their stories, and show real world solutions to the problems of sweatshops. He wants each person to think about where their clothes came from, who were they made by and was that person treated fairly in the process. 

Kanvanaugh made headlines last week when he made an appearance in Jeopardy. When asked about his documentary, Kavanaugh gave a brief statement about the film then followed by accusing the host, Mr. Alex Trebek, of wearing a suit made by “8-year-old sweatshop child slaves”. Here is the clip of that episode:

It was very clear that Kavanaugh is extremely passionate about the subject. In the documentary, he wants to discuss popular myths and misconceptions about how to confront the problem of sweat shop labor and show how these either do nothing or even add to the problem. For example, many people think simply boycotting a store will help solve the problem, but what they don’t know is that the workers are the ones that get penalized for the lost revenue. The documentary has two clear goals of achieving: to personalize the problem by taking popular products and tracing them back to their source and to show real world solutions to the problem by dispelling myths and showing what is already being done.

If you would like to contribute in the making of this documentary to help raise awareness to this growing issue, you can donate here

Farah A. for Hijabitopia

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