We all know sweatshops exist right? But when was the last time any of you can actually say that you sat and really thought about how awful working in a sweatshop can be?
Having young adults working in terrible conditions for barely nothing is one thing, however having young children slaving away for 16 hours a day to make Gap clothing, which is roughly twice the amount of hours working adults in the UK have to work, this is one step too far. In October 2007, According to the Telegraph police rescued 14 children from a sweatshop in New Delhi, India. The more big corporations such as Gap are trying to make more profits and keep up with the demand of their products from the west, it seems as though people from underdeveloped countries continue to find themselves on the chopping block.
Many of these children who work in Gap sweatshops are claiming to not even being paid as their employees tell them that they are still being trained. According to one estimate, more than 20 percent of India’s economy is dependent on children, the equivalent of 55 million children under the age of 14. These children are working 16 hours in a warehouse with barely any clothes and are “fed bowls of mosquito-covered rice, and forced to sleep on a roof and use over-flowing latrines.” Guards patrol the area and make sure all the children are doing what they’re supposed to be doing and any one who isn’t is severely beaten. “Those who slowed down were beaten with rubber pipes and the ones who cried had oily cloths stuffed in their mouths.”
Most of these children are sold by their parents to the sweatshops so that they can eventually make enough money to support their families, if the children ask to leave they are only allowed to do so once their ‘debt’ is paid off (what their parents were paid), however this is almost impossible as the children who work in the gap sweatshops are being paid close to nothing. some children even pass away as a result of working in these awful conditions for many years, each child is constantly at risk of work related injuries while working in these sweatshops, and everyday being spent in these sweatshops means everyday of them not being in school and being stuck in the cycle of having to do this kind of work for money.
Some people may argue that Gap is helping or has helped India’s economy and also helped in raising the standard of living but at what cost? In the contemporary global political economy it always seems as though the big multi-corporations continue to thrive, the government officials of underdeveloped countries and owners of these sweatshops are making a profit and the people who are on the losing end are the children and women who work in Gap sweatshops as they need to be exploited in order for others to have something to gain.