Help for Sweatshop Workers

October 27, 2010
By Anonymous

Every day you wake up. You take a warm shower, put on some clothes, and eat breakfast. You go to school to earn a valuable education and get headed towards a career. While you eat lunch with your friends, you complain about your homework. It’s boring, and it takes too long to do. We teenagers seem to never stop complaining, but are our lives really that bad? Many teens and children across the world spend their days working in sweatshops, factories with dangerous and abusive working conditions (Sweatshops). As teens, we have the responsibility to help attain better working conditions for sweatshop workers.

Sweatshops are factories that provide their workers with notoriously harsh working conditions. They are most often produce clothing, and are often located in Asia and Latin America (Sweatshops). Most of the labor laws and protections that we are familiar with in America are nonexistent. The workers at these factories are often women and children, who work to support their families. Many people feel the urge to help these degraded workers, but not everyone knows how. Most people think of boycotts as the strongest and the most efficient ways to help the cause of sweatshops. Boycotts, however, often do more harm than good. Most factory workers choose to work at sweatshops because it is the only way that their families can get an income. It is a bad option, but the others are worse. Besides sweatshop labor, child prostitution is the way many children contribute to their family. It is a very disgusting thought. When Americans boycott goods, they only force the workers out of jobs by cutting off income to the factory. This is why we should not try to shutdown sweatshops, but instead aim for better conditions for the workers.

Besides boycotts, how should we help? Should we rely on others to begin the movement? Should we wait to see wait happens? There are still many ways for you to get involved. is a website run by United States Against Sweatshops which suggests informing your peers about the tragedy, and donating money to help spread the word. You can organize a meeting or rally to educate others at your school, workplace, or even your whole town. You can also think of effective ways to raise money to donate. You can skip lunch once a week, or organize a fundraiser. There are infinite ways that you can get active and help.

Our country was founded upon the ideal of equality for all men. The founding fathers called for the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is not true only for Americans, but for all humans. The horrid conditions, such as exposure of children to dangerous machinery and toxic materials is unacceptable. I realize that equal rights for everyone are an ideal; they will never be perfectly executed, but we can still try. No one has the legal obligation to help sweatshop workers, but it is still the moral thing to do. We should be like the Good Samaritan, and help people who are less fortunate than we are. We are Americans. We are not the type to sit and do nothing while problems exist in the world. We are the type to get up and act. The will to help others is in our blood. We should listen to it.

As Americans, we are prosperous, both monetarily and in freedoms that cannot be purchased. We have the opportunity to get fair, well-paying jobs under reasonable conditions. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many teens and families around the world. You would not want to risk your life everyday to make only a few dollars. Neither do many of our fellow human beings who work in these deathly conditions. Resources like and can help you educate yourself and find out how to help the worthy cause of fair labor. American teens can and should make a great difference in the lives of sweatshop workers.

The author's comments:
I wrote this essay for English class.

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