Fast fashion is considered one of the largest industries, which represents a vast majority of countries’ economic statuses and culture. As societies in developed countries don’t acknowledge fashion practices, and many have no idea where the clothes they buy at their local store come from, the reality of how they are made is shocking. Fast fashion is a result of child labor, something that’s known as modern slavery.
Child labor is common in places where poverty afflicts most of the country’s population. According to Unicef’s standard indicator of child labor, most families who find themselves in situations where their children are forced to start working at a young age as extreme as 5 to 11, experience at least 1 hour of economic work or 21 hours of unpaid household services per week. For ages 12 to 14, they experience at least 14 hours of economic work or 21 hours of unpaid household services per week. The ILO (International Labour Organization) estimates 170 million humans are engaged in child labor. The UN defines Child labor as “work for which the child is either too young – work done below the required minimum age – or work which, because of its detrimental nature or conditions, is altogether considered unacceptable for children and is prohibited.”
- Some women are not allowed to take toilet breaks.
- There are 1 in 4 reports of sexual harassment and discrimination against Bangladeshi garment workers.
- Only an estimated 2% of fashion workers around the world are paid a living wage.
Why is this happening?
Fast fashion has been slowly declining, which has caused companies to lose money and has resulted in the search for cheap sources of labor. Cheap labor is found in many countries where textile and garment production takes place. This is frequent in countries such as India and Bangladesh, where girls are willing to work for very low prices and are easily brought and manipulated into these industries under false promises of earning decent wages. Child labor is a particular issue for fashion because much of the resources to create the product require low-skilled labor, and some tasks are even said to be better suited to children than adults. In cotton picking, employers prefer to hire children for their small fingers, which do not damage the crop, whereas, with adults, it would take them longer.
This illustrates the sense of illegality of this troubling act. All of the work done by children under the age of 15 and dangerous work done by children under 18 is illegal. Child labor is prohibited under international treaties and agreements. This way, we are privileged to have a huge platform such as social media, which allows and encourages people to educate themselves on fast fashion. Unfortunately, fast fashion companies have converted a job into something that promotes modern slavery.
Categories: World News