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What is a sweatshop?

The U.S. General Accounting Office defines a sweatshop as an employer that violates more than one federal or state labor law governing minimum wage and overtime, child labor, industrial homework, occupational safety and health, worker’s compensation or industry regulation. Sweatshops exist both internationally and domestically. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that over 50% of sewing shops in the US are sweatshops. Buying “Made in the USA” clothing often does not mean “sweatshop free”.





Why Are SweatShops a Moral Issue?

Workers in sweatshops are usually young women and immigrant workers that are desperately poor and work long, long hours, sometimes up to 20 hours a day and their wages still do not total a workable wage to feed and clothe their families. The workers are often denied bathroom breaks and forced to undergo pregnancy tests and take birth control so the companies do not have to pay maternity leave costs. The workers often suffer verbal and physical abuse and struggle to complete high quotas (a proportion assigned to a participant) each day.

Moral Question: Do sweatshops help or harm humanity?


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