Sweatshops still make your clothes
It’s been 16 years since Charles Kernaghan made Kathie Lee Gifford cry on national television, revealing that her Wal-Mart-sold clothing line was produced by Honduran children working 20-hour shifts. It was an essential moment in bringing labor conditions in the developing world -- specifically in the garment industry -- to the attention of the American public.
But not that much has changed. Looking back on the movement and its achievements in an interview, Kernaghan sounds defeated, even as he reels off the list of horrific factories exposed by his Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.
Kernaghan’s gloomy mood stems from the report he is writing now on a recent trip to Northern Bengal, where the Institute secretly met with workers from the Rosita and Megatex factories to follow up on a previous exposé. The two factories produce expensive sweaters for an array of European apparel companies, companies which assure their customers that the workers are guaranteed the core rights established by the International Labor Organization (ILO), including freedom of association and the elimination of child labor.