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Child Labour, the real FASHION VICTIMS…

Every year at fall or at spring time, many of us start thinking renewing a bit our wardrobe. Our mood is affected considerably by the weather, while fashion brands and houses build up their collections with new colourful stories. There many options for us out there and some of them nowadays are significantly economical. Have you ever noticed that sometimes when somebody makes a remark on a new piece we are wearing, we respond all jubilant in a positive manner and we say “Oh, thank you, I bought it only 9.90”? This, almost mechanically given answer, which is combined with reference to the low cost of our garment, makes us feel undoubtedly “successful” for our choice, since we are dressed beautifully without having spent a fortune! This proudness and satisfaction, is not always justifiable though.  In many occasions regarding apparel purchases, behind these “smart” choices, there are BIG interests hidden and SMALL CHILDREN! In two words, CHILD LABOUR. (Child labour)

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) it is estimated that 168 million children worldwide are exploited and forced to work, while 85 million of them work in appalling and highly dangerous conditions. I am sure that if we were aware of these circumstances we would be thinking differently about our choices!

Click below to watch a video published five years ago by the International Labour Organisation, which unfortunately is still relevant today…

Just to give you an idea, 73 million of working children are aged under ten years old and every year at least 22 thousand of them are killed in accidents.

Although from 2000 to 2012 there was a reduction of almost one third on the numbers of the previous years, the numbers are still scary. Consider the magnitude of the crime committed in the name of profit all these years towards children around the world!

The above figures relate to children illegally forced to work in various sectors, such as agriculture, in tourism business, in the carpet industry, in domestic servitude, in factories, in mines, in military operations, in various illegal activities, such as drug trade, prostitution and porn and last but not least … many of them are forced to work, in order to provide bulky production lines quickly and inexpensively for the apparel business world.

Because of the enormous “needs” of mass production in fashion and the so-called “fast fashion”, brands are constantly seeking to find an ever cheaper labor, apparently oblivious to the obvious costs behind it! In this context, countries such as India, Bangladesh, and Africa are the “best” choice for manufacturers (OUPS! Did you just remember these countries appearing in some of your clothing labels?)!

The global campaign coordinator of HIVOS, an international organisation that seeks new solutions to persistent global issues, such as the cessation of Child Labour world-wide (www.hivos.org/), Sofie Ovaa, explains what happens in the aforementioned countries: “There are many girls from countries like India, Bangladesh, Africa, who are agreeing to work with very low salaries and they are transported to the industries on false promises of decent wages”.References on relevant practices were made after researches of SOMO, The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (www.somo.nl/), where manufacturers, in order to mislead parents who are living in impoverished rural areas of South India to send their children to spinning houses, promise them well-paid jobs, comfortable accommodation, good food, opportunities for training and education, adequate remuneration, luring them with the promise of a better life. Fieldwork on this, has clearly shown on most of the occasions that these promises have nothing to do with the reality, which is scarier than any nightmare, it is in fact the most frightening of them all; children-slaves forced into lives of depravity and despair!

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