Dept of Labor Releases A List of Slave-Made Goods

Our friends over at Change.org have sent us notice that the Department of Labor has finally, with the gentle pressuring of Change.org readers and NGO's like Polaris Project and the International Labor Rights Forum, published a 194 page report on child and forced labor produced items from around the world. It is not a highly detailed report listing exact items or those companies involved in the production, but it is a start in the right direction. This kind of reporting was government mandated in 2005 but has been dragging along until now. So, some thanks are due to the DOL and those groups that helped 'persuade' them. You can read the story at Change.org and learn the list of items that are branded as such, and a list of the most troubling countries (none of which might surprise you). There is also a comments section where you can leave your thoughts and read some other interesting ones.

My favorite one is from a woman who thinks that child labor might not be such a bad thing, and indeed, might be necessary for children in poor countries to help their families (unfortunately true in many cases). This is just plain bad. What's worse is that some go on to think that children in the USA should work too. Personally, I think it's a long way from being a child laborer to having a part time job for a bit of spending money and to learn a work ethic. Our kids have simple tasks they must do for pocket money each week. Surely, I wouldn't consider this to be child labor though. It's a bad thing to consider that thousands of young kids are forced into hard labor and there are many ideas to help support keeping them from having to do so (like govt programs that pay children to go to school in poorer countries). Equally, it is important that we learn as much as we can where our daily products are made, how they are made, and by whom. As consumers, the more we know the better we are. And, it helps us to remind those people who allow this kind of thing (companies and governments alike) to continue, just how important it is for all our societies to make this stop. Children deserve a fair and clear future.