The conditions within a sweatshop are nothing short of awful. Not only are workers required to labor for long hours on a regular basis with few, if any breaks, but the environmental conditions are often difficult as well. Air quality levels may be poor, there may be extreme heat or cold, and the wages offered in return are minimal at best.
Is there a way to keep costs down without resorting to sweatshop conditions? These ideas may be some solutions to sweatshops that may be worth considering.
1. Eliminate purchasing practices that encourage sweatshops.
Sweatshops exist because there is a demand for cheap goods. One of the biggest costs in any item being purchased is the labor behind it. Instead of encouraging the purchase of multiple cheap items, changing purchasing practices so that one high quality item is purchased instead would begin to eliminate the need for sweatshops to exist.
2. Encourage government enforcement of current regulations.
In many countries, including the United States, sweatshops exist just underneath the radar of officials. By being more proactive about finding and enforcing current labor regulations, it would become possible for workers trapped in this type of situation to be able to fight for their rights in a meaningful way without fear of losing what little money they earn.
3. Monitor auditing practices.
Many sweatshops occur in areas where contract factories are able to exist with little oversight. By creating and enforcing auditing practices that monitor the conditions within these factories, it becomes possible to begin taking actions when rights violations are discovered.
4. Allow workers to take action if they are fired.
Many workers in sweatshops are forced to lie to inspectors because they can be fired at any time. This creates inescapable poverty because the worker feels like there is no other solution. They work because of fear. By giving workers a legal option to take action against an employer that fires them for refusing overtime or telling the truth to an inspector, the abusive conditions of a sweatshop can hopefully begin to be managed.
Sweatshops exist because we allow them to exist because of our purchasing habits. If we stand up to these organizations and purchase items that are made by workers outside of the sweatshop environment, then we can do our part to support economies at the local level while still having the items we need.