This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Starvation Versus Slavery

The archaic world of slavery and of child labour stubbornly hangs on into our modern age. Although the elements of human need and desires not complementary to each other, but in opposition, where the human need resides in one country and the desires in yet another. The situation remain steadfast though we claim to have outgrown the need to manipulate and drain emerging countries' peoples for super-charged countries' casual desires.

We speak of our obligations toward others in less favourable circumstances to ours. To uphold their human rights for security and freedom. Yet in countries that are emerging economic presences, freedom is a moot point when security is interpreted as having a roof over one's head and sufficient food to stave off hunger. The Western world is still lingering in the vampire's mode of violating third-world peoples' needs.

Commercial enterprises like the famous clothiers - the Gap no less - are still being implicated in providing desired fashionable clothing to its avid customers through the process of employing child labour in production. The child rights charity Global March Against Child Labour has revealed that little boys as young as eight were employed as unpaid labourers in sweat shops in New Delhi.

Be careful what you shop for, eagerly unaware consumers in the West, for what you garb yourself with might be the results of a child's clumsy, or nimble fingers carefully hand stitching the garment you so proudly wear. Children, themselves dressed in ragged underwear, were taken by police out of these sub-contracted slave shops and handed over to a rehabilitation centre near New Delhi.

The children were terrified, fearful of apprehension, of having done something for which they would pay dearly. Not realizing that they were being rescued from lives of unrelenting slavery, fed little and much demanded of them. From impoverished rural families whose parents could not feed them, this had become their lives. Their families were represented by the other slave children by whom they were surrounded.

The charity will now give attention to engaging in a process to render financial compensation to the children before returning them to their rural villages and families. With the compensation their families will welcome their return and the funds should assist them in purchasing the food they so badly lack. But for how long?

Each of the rescued children, under India's Bonded Labour Act, is entitled to receive the equivalent of $500 Cdn in cash compensation. Which has been drafted to prevent the children from returning to slave labour. And the Gap, while claiming to be "deeply upset" announces their code of conduct compels them to compensate the children with financial support, education, and perhaps the prospect of future employment.

Nice conclusion to a nasty story. A sigh of relief. What?! The United Nations estimates that 55 million children from age five to fourteen are employed in the domestic and business sectors in India. Their work produces up to 20% of India's annual GDP.

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