Raveena Aulakh, a reporter from the Toronto Star, certainly took her research into a news piece to the next level.
Posing as a factory worker, to investigate she went undercover in a Bangladesh factory located in Dhaka.
What she found was a heartbreaking glimpse into the lives of the people who work there, including children.
Her investigation spotlighted Meem, a 9 year old child worker at the factory. Meem works 12 hour days in the sweatshop, and was actually Aulakh’s boss for a time.
This particular unnamed factory employs almost 50 people, many who are children that have nowhere else to live, making them ideal targets for long days working in the shop. Meem’s parents were too poor to provide for her, making life at the factory a seemingly better choice for her than being at the family home. This also meant that she would have to leave school to help bring in money.
Meem’s schedule is normally from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with only a half a day off on Friday. Like other sewing assistants, she tends to earn the least of the worker’s minute salaries. For her 12 hour daily shifts she earns around $32 per month. The typical minimum wage at this particular factory was anywhere from $30 to $38 each month. Many of the workers even live at the factory, which has deplorable conditions.
Currently, Meem spends those long days repeatedly trimming fabric threads from the garments produced at the shop, and her goal is to be promoted to a sewing operator.
This tragic disservice to our world’s children only continues because manufacturers put greed over knowing or caring where their products come from, and the consumer market who either purposely or unknowingly, purchases items from illegally ran factories.
Aulakh has also covered the tragedies from the Rana Plaza collapse, which was also in Dhaka, where over 1100 workers were killed in the unsafe factory.
Sadly, though Bangladesh is among the worst in the garment factory industry there are many other places, such as some in India for example, where factory children also exist to generate products for the retail masses.
This goes beyond child labor – this is child slavery.
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