When one travels to South Asia, they see women dressed in vibrant fabrics, and colorful bangles. Yet under those layers of fabrics lie hungry stomachs, and under those lively bangles are nothing but weak, and swollen wrists. South Asian countries, such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, are some of the poorest countries in the world. After doing some research, I have learned about some specific cases of the exploitation that takes place in Pakistan. The globalization of culture, and goods has led to the exploitation of young workers in Third World nations. This growing problem of exploitation of workers in Pakistan is due to the increase in consumer demand of first world nations. Since I am originally from Pakistan, I did my research on a couple of their industries.
According to the Human Development Index, which measures life expectancy, literacy, education, and standards of living for countries worldwide, Pakistan ranks 145 out of 187. In Pakistan, according to International Labor Organization, the average wage of a sweatshop worker is 23 cents. Almost all sweatshop employees work 12-hour days, leaving an average Pakistani worker with $2.76 at the end of a day. This averages to about $19.32 a week. This salary is expected to cover food, housing, clothes, and medical costs. This extreme low salary requires even the youngest members of the family having to work. This can be seen anywhere from children near the age of 6 to 17 working in these various sweatshops. It is important to remember that this is the typical payment of a male worker, women automatically will earn less. This incredibly low payment is on top of the harsh working conditions.
The factories and shops most of these laborers are working in are run down, and at times hazardous. If the buildings were inspected, they would hardly ever meet the workplace sanitary requirements. The workplaces these young laborers work at all day are in the poorest conditions, making it detrimental to their health. A lot of times, when these younger workers reach their early twenties they suffer from joint problems, weaker vision, and health problems. Workers in sweatshops are essentially treated as slaves; often times not allowed to speak to one another or even use the bathroom. This can be seen as a direct violation of the Human Rights Act: “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Stitching and weaving intricate and detailed designs for hours with no break, slowly weakens the workers vision. A lot of times these young workers are blind by the time they reach their mid-twenties. They also undergo joint problems due to the complex and convoluted handwork required.
Due to unsanitary workplace, the fluff and debris from the material causes lung diseases and various illnesses have become too common. This demonstrates the never-ending problems that result from working in these factories, and shops. Yet the three main reasons for the use of child labor are: the extreme low wages, their sharp eyesight, and their acceptance of horrific working conditions. The young workers having sharp eyesight are considered advantageous, for it permits them to execute detailed and intricate work in poor light. This leads to a disheartening cycle where children and young adults are allowed to work in terrible conditions, which consumers like us purchase, and then on top of all this, display it in our homes. This is major problem for the 3rd world countries. Over time development and colonization leads to a complete loss of culture, traditions, and traditional system of beliefs. The colonization of 3rd world nations by 1st world nations creates an opportunity for the exploitation of culture.
I later came across this quote, which sums of how I feel about coming across this information. I know as global studies majors we are good at doing research, and learning about the culture/economics of other countries. And now with this new “global” perspective, and knowledge of all the human right violations taken across the world, it makes us angry/upset. Yes we can write blogs, papers, and share them with our classmates. But what even comes after that. After this research, and learning about how my own people are affected, this personally hits me. If I wasn’t born in the US, that could of been my life For my cousins/relatives are probably have lived or are living the horrible conditions that I have described. And yes, it is great to be aware of what is happening globally, but I think having this knowledge also makes us accountable. I should be held responsible for make a difference or change, and not just sit back and watch. This makes me motivated to help my people, and bring them their rights back. For at the end of the day we are all humans. And all humans are equal. Nothing else should ever get in the way.
“Perhaps a creature of so much ingenuity and deep memory is almost bound to grow alienated from his world, his fellows, and the objects around him. He suffers from a nostalgia for which there is no remedy upon earth except as it is to be found in the enlightenment of the spirit–some ability to have a perceptive rather than an exploitive relationship with his fellow creatures.”
Inspirational Quotes.” Daniel Quinn. Last Modified April 1st, 2013 http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/10330.Daniel_Quinn