5 shocking facts about sweatshops
Sweatshops are commonly known for being crowded workplaces with extremely poor working conditions. In many cases the work may be difficult, dangerous and underpaid, making it illegal. Here are 5 shocking facts that you may not have known:
1. Child labour has decreased by 38 per cent in the last decade but 152 million children are still affected, according to the International Labor Organisation (ILO).
2. The COVID-19 pandemic has considerably worsened the situation by bringing additional poverty to already vulnerable populations. School closures, lockdowns and job losses have aggravated the situation with many millions of children working to contribute to the family income.
3. Because women make up 85 to 90% of sweatshop workers, some employers force them to take birth control and routine pregnancy tests to avoid supporting maternity leave or providing appropriate health benefits (1)
4. A study showed that doubling the salary of sweatshop workers would only increase the consumer cost of an item by 1.8%, while consumers would be willing to pay 15% more to know a product did not come from a sweatshop (2)
5. Child labour is particularly prevalent within the fashion industry where some tasks are seen to be better suited for children than adults. For example, children are often preferred to pick cotton as their fingers are smaller and less likely to damage the crops.
Anarkid works with GOTs Certified factories, which is internationally recognised as the toughest standard as it includes every step of the manufacturing process. In order to obtain this certification, our factories must (among other requirements) prove they enforce strict social and environmental standards, treating their employees and our planet with respect.
1. Bernhardt, Annette, Ruth Milkman, Nik Theodore et al. "Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers: Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America’s Cities." National Employment Law Project, 2009.
2. Robert Pollin, Justine Burns, and James Heintz. "Global apparel production and sweatshop labour: can raising retail prices finance living wages?" Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2004.