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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Big Businesses Oppose Ban On Child and Slave Labor

Here is a story from Change.org about businesses opposing a legislative ban on products made by children and slaves. God bless the free market.

from Amanda Kloer at Change.org:

Rachel Maddow’s choice of “you child labor-endorsing, pro-slavery freaks” to describe business groups’ opposition to a bill that would ban the import of goods made by child labor or slave labor was pretty apt. However, I personally would describe the move as the most stunning display of corporate douchebaggery since Walmart’s “dead peasant’s insurance” fiasco. According to a recent report from Inside U.S. Trade, business interest groups are “worried” that a legislative ban on goods made by children and slaves could prompt the government to more actively seek out and identify consumer goods made by exploited people. And if we started doing that, well then businesses might have to start giving workers their rights, paying them a living wage, not abusing children, and freeing their indentured slaves. And then where would we be?

The relevant part starts around 3:30.

My colleague (and frequent guest poster) Tim Newman also has a great analysis of the history of legislative attempt to ban goods made with child and slave labor here. Last year, the International Labor Rights Forum took Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland to task for trying to block a voluntary child labor free certification initiative in the Farm Bill. The initiative passed, despite the lobbying of interest groups. History shows that despite the powerful corporate lobby, grassroots activists can be just as powerful a voice for children and workers as high ticket lobbyists can be for corporations.

As of now, we don’t have word as to which business groups and which companies are going to out themselves as squishy invertebrates rather than men and women by vocally opposing legislative measures to prevent and reduce child labor and slavery around the world. But once we get word of who is standing between us and a market untainted by slavery, we will let them know in no uncertain terms where they can stick their opposition. Because let’s face it — coming out against a ban on slave-made and child-made goods is the same as acknowledging that your company uses those products and that you’re okay knowing that. And I for one certainly don’t want to shop at a company who actively or passively supports exploitation and abuse in the name of their own profits.

(Via IC)

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