How Child Labor is in Your Closet

By Elizabeth Johns, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

If you look at the tag on the back of your t-shirt, it is most likely going to read”Made in China” or “Made in Bangladesh.”

No one bats an eye at the sight of this, but behind all the 50% sales and the marketing campaigns designed to make you want to buy the clothes, child labor is a silent killer, and we’re all part of the problem by being mindless consumers.

Forced child labor has been a problem for decades, but the idea of consumerism has made the problem worse.

Companies such as Forever 21, H&M, and Walmart have recently been under fire for their use of child labor in the making of their products.

The majority of countries involved in child labor are countries like Pakistan, Egypt, and Bangladesh – countries where poverty is very common. 

Families in poverty push the children to get jobs to support the family because the parents have low-income jobs.

The parents have been mislead to believe when they send off their daughters, they will be fed well, given an education and a roof over their heads.

This is not always the case.

Young girls are often overworked, paid poorly, and exposed to harsh chemicals like pesticides while working or even picking cotton.

The tasks the children are forced to do are ones that are better fitted for children’s smaller hands, but they aren’t safe from adult jobs, either.

Many of these children grow up to have families on their own, and without education to get a better job, they are forced to do the same thing to their children.

Shifting the world’s commerce out of child labor is not as easy as it sounds, either.

The materials companies buy to use for clothing is often made by children, and the work often gets subcontracted without companies’ knowledge.

Child labor can be stopped.

Check the labels on your clothing, research the stores you buy your clothes at to minimize your part in the child labor industry, and encourage others around you to do the same.

Be a mindful consumer; the children will thank you.