Child Labour: Self Reflection
It’s been a beautiful day, the weather was perfect; sunny and warm. My husband cut the lawn, the kids played in the backyard after school (it was amazing watching them run around in the backyard laughing, playing tag). We went to Bilal’s soccer game, they lost 6-3 but they played but they played an excellent game. Everything has been perfect except one thing. It’s been weighing so heavy on my heart. I read a blog today called Little Fingers and it changed everything. I have three kids and they are my whole world. I was outraged to learn that children are forced to abandon school in order to help support their families.
These kids then find themselves in factories performing slave labour. Children receive very harsh discipline methods and are verbally, emotionally, physically and sexually abused in these places. They end up working 19-20 hour workdays, 7 days a week and most of them are forced to sleep, eat and bathe there. 170 million children are engaged in child labour, with making textiles and garments to satisfy the demand of consumers in Europe, the US and beyond.
Related Article: Little Hands Doing Big Work
How is this possible? How can this be happening and nobody is crying out in outrage about it? I started looking at clothes hung up in our closets, folded on shelves. How could I have bought these cute and trendy clothes for my daughter and not known a child probably made them? How could these stores so casually buy items from these third world countries and then turn around and sell them to big corporate chains without a thought for the people who made them? How could they turn a blind eye to what is happening? These poor children are subjected to conditions that are so dangerous to their health like damaging chemicals including pesticides, formaldehyde, harsh acids and toxic dyes. Lung and stomach problems are a huge health concerns they are at risk of from working in these conditions. It makes my blood boil that these small, innocent children are slaves for people and we have zero regard for this. I was unaware of everything that was going on. When I would think of clothes and shopping, I would get the giddy feeling of going to the mall with friends or my family. Eating at the food court and then back to shopping looking for “deals” on trendy, pretty clothes. I will never see clothes in the same light again though!
When I sat down at the end of today, I couldn’t think of anything else. The beautiful day, Bilal’s soccer game, it all felt like an eternity ago. I sat Bilal down tonight and shared the blog Little Fingers with him. He cried. My 10 year old son (soon to be eleven as he often reminds me) sobbed and cried and I hugged him and held him close to my heart. I cried and sobbed with him. Our beautiful, innocent children are being exploited in parts of the world like Bangladesh, India and Pakistan and nobody is screaming with outrage. Pakistan is the country my parents were born in. This is hitting really close to home for me. Especially since I feel I should have known about this. These injustices are literally happening right under our eyes. I’m exhausted and feel worn out, but I am aware what I feel is only a fraction of what these little children feel. I’m going to crawl into bed, it’s been a long day. What started out seeming like a beautiful day doesn’t seem so beautiful any more. Tomorrow will bring a new day and I vow to do my part to help make changes.