Aida Aponte: How has slave labor changed?

aThe United States of America has a dark history of using slave labor to produce products for the American consumer. The U.S.A. shipped people from Africa to America to build a slave work force, and made them work in horrific conditions, giving them no pay, and separating families.

Slavery was abolished by Congress with the Thirteenth Amendment on December 6, 1865, but the U.S. never stopped importing slave-made items.

Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 prohibits any forced labor of slaves or children within the United States. So the loophole for Top 100 companies and corporations is that the forced labor could not occur on American soil. That means overseas factories where children and adults are abused in the workplace are legal. “Made in America” is a rare tag to see on American items today, since factories overseas are cheaper.

aHowever, the garment factory collapse in Savar, Bangladesh, on April 24, 2013, makes you wonder. Is money worth people’s lives? Over 2,000 workers were injured and more than 1,000 were killed that day. The factory owner and their engineers ignored workers’ concerns about the building’s instability and cracks in the ceilings.

aIn the United States, the loophole of using oversea slave-labored products has shrunk. On February 24, Pres. Obama signed a bill that bans any imported goods made overseas through slave labor. This holds companies and corporations responsible for where and by whom their products are made. It is not impossible to uphold for the safety of the people — workers — who make our stuff.


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