By its definition sweatshop is an environment for working in dangerous or difficult conditions. To address their situation, the workers in this case have limited rights. There are several factors that have lead to have activists on the anti-sweatshops movements, though some of the workers in these sweatshops tend to oppose it in one way or the other. These factors against the sweatshops have been termed by the anti sweatshops activists as abuses to human rights (Richard, 1999, 16).
These abuses that have triggered the ant-sweatshop movements at places of work include the following. Firstly, is that workers are exposed to working environment that is surrounded by harmful materials. In many of chemical manufacturing companies, the workers are surrounded by harmful chemical. Some of these chemicals when inhaled or comes to contact with the body affects the human health negatively. In other big goods manufacturing companies, workers tend to work with or near harmful machines.
These machines have been severally reported to cause injuries to workers. The injured workers in this kind of sweatshop in many cases end up not been compensated. This factor has really lead to have the anti sweatshop movements all over the world by international labor organization (Ralph, 2005, 22). The second abuse factor in sweatshops is in situations where the workers get exposed to hazard working situations. This working environment condition affects the human heath as they are prone to many strange diseases.
In the same factor, workers are also exposed to extreme temperatures which are harmful to human bodies. Third factor leading to anti sweatshop movements is the case where we have the employers abusing the workers. In this matter the abuse can be of two folds, that is direct insults or physical body abuse in the cases of opposite sex. Additionally, the sweatshop workers tend to be forced to long working long hours which are not paid for. These forces the workers to give out labor force that is not compensated even when they go for overtime work.
Despite the above, sweatshop defenders have claimed that people choose to be working in these sweatshops as it is in them where they get more pay than their previous working places. It is in this factor where sweatshops in less economically developed countries have received a warm welcome. Economists in these countries argue that although the working conditions and the wages are inferior, the sweatshops tend to improve the living standards of the people in less developed countries.
It has also been argued that sweatshops in non- industrialize countries tend to improve subsistence farming and not replacing the highly paid jobs (Rick, Kim, 2004, 43). The unemployment factor in the less economically developed countries has lead to encouragement of sweatshops. Sweatshops in these countries try to solve the unemployment problem that on return reduces other human problems such as the starvation, trash picking and even prostitution. In the less developed nations in terms of their economies, sweatshops tend to assist in their economic growth by offering cheap source of labor.
It is believed by economists that if this labor is utilized intensively, the country is likely to experience a faster economic growth even in the short run. Another economic factor that has triggered the existence of sweatshops is the inequality in the distribution of resources. Those in a given nation who happen to get a big share of the national income tend to use the money power to exploit the poor. This occurs in situations where the rich offers high amount of money to the poor so that they accomplish risk tasks on their behalf (Ralph, 2005, 31).
Sweatshops not only exist in less economically developed countries but also in economically rich countries but in a different form to that of poor counties.
Ralph Sandoval. Globalization and Cross-Border Labor Solidarity in the Americas: The Anti-Sweatshop Movement and the Struggle for Social Justice. London, Routledge, 2005, pp. 2, 31 Richard Magat. Unlikely Partners: Philanthropic Foundations and the Labor Movement. Cornell University Press, 1999, pp. 16 Rick Fantasia & Kim Voss. Hard Work: Remaking the American Labor Movement. California, California University Press, 2004, pp. 43