just say “no” to sweatshop labor

July 30, 2007 at 6:02 pm Leave a comment

Buenos Aires is attempting to put a stop to sweatshops in the city by going on the offensive. Today Clarin reported that the city government has named names, citing some of the biggest brands here of being guilty of producing their garments in sweatshops. Included among these are Puma, Fila, Arena, Bensimon, Topper and Le Coq Sportif.

Many of these sweatshops are based out of Parque Avellaneda, a neighbourhood to the west of the city center. According to IPS News, “In this district alone, there are approximately 40 small sweatshops,” with wages totalling about $20 pesos a month. Most people (perhaps best described as slaves) working in sweatshops are immigrants from Bolivia, although there are also Peruvians, Paraguayans, and Argentines. According to one former sweatshop worker, “They take advantage of us because they know that we Bolivians are submissive and hard-working.”

While the city has denounced these brands for their use of sweatshop labor, it doesn’t look like the government has actually done anything about it. Previous court cases against sweatshops have ended in the owners’ favor, and there still isn’t a federal law that prohibits the trafficking of humans.

So for now, the only way to really respond to these allegations would be to boycott the guilty labels. I haven’t read about anyone protesting outside of Bensimmon, and I don’t see it happening. Am I just being cynical?–REBECCA

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Entry filed under: media, politics.

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