Who doesn’t love a good bargain, especially when it comes to clothes? Many people are even willing to compromise quality for a low price. However, what we fail to realise is that the price of our cheap clothing is being paid by the little hands of impoverished children from countries like Bangladesh.
That's right! Someone as young as 6 could have been the one that made that cute top you got last week for $6.
According to the Overseas Development Institute, approximately one third of the children who live in the slums of the country's capital, Dhaka, spend an average of 64 hours a week making clothing for the world's leading brands and retailers. That's 16 hours more than the weekly working hours of a European adult, who works 48 hours! The Institute also found through a survey of 2,700 families, that 32% of 10 to 14-year-olds had to skip school to work fulltime at garment factories. Adding to these shocking statistics is the fact that these children only get paid less than $2 a day. These are children that should be going to school, dreaming about the future and laughing with kids their age. They should not, under any circumstance, be working almost 9 hours a day to provide for their families.
In recent years, the Bangladeshi government has put in some effort to remove the worst kinds of child labour, but more than 5 million of the country's children (aged 5-17) remain engaged in some form of employment, according to the International Labour Organisation. The minimum working age in Bangladesh is 14, however, children aged 12 and above can execute 'light work', if it doesn't interfere with their education. Keep in mind that what is considered 'light work' is 42 hours a week. Still, the prohibition carries out its aim of explicitly barring children from pulling all-night shifts or performing any hazardous tasks.
It is said that by the age of 14, more than half the children living in Dhaka's slums are working, with two thirds of the employed girls toiling away their futures for Bangladesh's $19 billion-per-year garment industry.
A vast number of the boys and girls reported extreme fatigue, back pain, fever and superficial injuries.
So how can we, as ordinary consumers, help put a stop to this injustice? The answer is simple: buy fair-trade certified products or at least start asking the question to the brands seeking transparency of their supply chain. Not only are we assisting in keeping these children out of cruel factories, but also helping them get an education and thereby a future.
Servi Store is committed to use a Fairtrade certified supply chain. Fairtrade certified producer organizations and traders are committed to preventing and effectively eliminating all forms of Forced Labour, Child Labour and human trafficking.
So, next time you go clothes shopping or bargain hunting, just remember the tiny hands that work tirelessly to clothe you. Buy Fairtrade.
Featured photo by: GMB Akash