THE SWEAT OF SLAVERY



by



John Hevey































Honors Speech 9: Argumentation
Mrs. Johnson
Period 3
May 15, 2000







	Devanandan, a 12 year old male was coaxed to leave home in 1991 by promises of wages up to 100 dollars a month for working at a loom only two hours a day while continuing to attend school full time (Senser).  Instead, he was forced to work, eat, and sleep locked in the same room knotting carpets from 4 a.m. until late evening for pennies in pay.  This horrific example exemplifies the devious methods in which sweatshops obtain their workers.  Unfortunately, forced labor and such forms of virtual slavery have existed far before the emergence of sweatshops.  From prehistory to World War II concentration camps and today, this example of inhuman nature ceases to terminate.  In most cases, forms of such labor are utilized for an inexpensive work force to complete laborious and monotonous tasks.  Similarly, these workers endure horrendous conditions unsuitable to maintain a level of stamina demanded by the authority.  Thus, history proves that forced labor reappears in modern sweatshops and factories throughout the world.
	While contained in concentration camps, the Jewish and other undesirables were coerced to work far beyond their physical limitations.  The occurrence of forced labor in Nazi camps was widespread.  An enormous annihilation camp, Aushwitz-Birkenau also served the purpose of forced labor.  In addition, many other notable concentration camps facilitating the same intention comprise of Buchenwald, Dachu, and Plaszow (Directory).  Hundreds of thousands of young men working across Europe died from this (Labor).  In the eyes of the SS, the Jewish men spared from the gas chambers were expendable.  A process of selection to weed out the weak occurred frequently in the work camps.  Only the strongest survived this process, death via the gas chambers proved to be the ultimate end of the sick and weak.  To deviate from the drudgery meant certain death as well.  These innocent men, and in a few cases women, exempt from mercy, their lives meant nothing to the ruthless Nazi’s operating the camps.  The appalling conditions in the concentration camps trapped the Jewish in a constant hell.  Merciless killers, the SS treated the laborers in cruel and degrading fashions (Labor).  Fed only meager rations, the workers soon became malnourished and took on wan appearances.  Worked beyond their capacity, many died from exhaustion.  In addition, the barracks contained around 620 men (Labor).  Stacked on top of each other the men squeezed several full-grown men into tiny spaces.  An endless ordeal, life for the laborers placed them in the constant view of death.  Due to the premise that Hitler wanted to maximize his opportunities, the men and women in concentration camps were forced into excruciating labor.
	Similar to life for the Jewish in Nazi concentration camps, people today force innocent children to work all day in unimaginable conditions.  Sweatshops and similar productions are by no means centralized in Eastern Asian countries such as China, the Philippines, and Burma (International).  Some of the highest percentages of child labor exist in Africa and South America.  India and Bangladesh in South Asia also possess high numbers; some estimates range as high as 100 million children (International).  Research has shown that at least 250 million child laborers from the ages of five to fourteen exist in developing countries worldwide.  In addition, more than half of these children work full-time (International).  Such developing countries that operate sweatshops do so to boost their economy with cheap efficient labor.  Incessantly, children working in sweatshops are forced to complete menial tasks and often receive little or no pay.  Common devoirs include the following: stitching and assembling clothing, shoes, and athletic equipment: sorting and counting semiprecious stones: and also polishing and sharpening surgical instruments (International).  Machines normally do jobs parallel to this, but because these set-ups are often in small houses or factories, child labor is much more frugal.  Most child laborers receive pennies a day or less.  In many cases, they do not acquire payment for months at a time (International).  Unknowingly, children are lured into jobs offering high pay for only a few hours of work, but in fact receive almost nothing for hard labor.  While forced into laborious chores, the children in sweatshops experience deplorable conditions.  Generally, the children work up to twelve-hour day’s seven days a week (International).  They operate in small crowded workshops, with excessive heat, insufficient lighting, poor ventilation, and loud noises creating a multitude of respiratory illnesses and comparable problems.  They are also often exposed to toxic substances, corrosive chemicals, and intolerable solvents while working without any protective gear (PAR).  Unlike developed countries’ factories, children receive only two bathroom breaks in an eleven-hour day and must ask permission for a drink of water.  Fearful for their well being, many sweatshop “employees” risk burns, amputations, and deaths.  Fed only scanty portions, many children are malnourished and weak.  Working twelve-hour days, they are unable to attend school and receive an education.  A cruel injustice, these children face physical and verbal abuse and punishment to keep working.  Reports from India describe low caste children put in bondage as admonition.  Unbelievable conditions like those described are abundant in developing countries, and little restriction is placed upon them.  As a result of industry's desire for economic gain, young children are being treated as slave laborers.
	Forced labor, under slavery like conditions is ethically and morally wrong, yet it continues to be practiced in many nations.  As the Jewish were into concentration camps, young children are being cajoled into sweatshops.  Devious tactics equivalent to these are wrong as they falsely influence people into unknown torture.  Appalling conditions that existed in German concentration camps, and subsist in modern day sweatshops are inhumane.  To aid economies, companies must look elsewhere to find a form of efficient labor.  Governments as well as companies, who contract them, should take stronger action in expunging these tragic conditions.  Child labor is a viable source now, but companies need to see that by denying children of an education they are only destroying their chances of becoming a developed country with strong industry due to the lack of skilled workers.  To strip a child of all his rights is subjecting his to slavery.  Although this practice of bondage may be erased, sweatshops further continue the anguish.  This reoccurring vassalage must be stopped forever.  As a consequence of authoritarian leaders yearning to maximize potential work power, innocent children are being needlessly driven to death through forced labor.
	Throughout history, forced labor and servitude reappear in modern institutions around the world.  Jewish detained in concentration camps underwent severe mistreatment.  Worked beyond their ability, many died from exhaustion and malnutrition.  Innocent children in sweatshops experience horrifying conditions leading to many illnesses and misfortunes.  They have been stripped of their rights into a life of slavery.  Such conditions are simply wrong, and must cease to exist.  Millions of people have been insidiously enticed into lives of monotonous work without reparation.  Thus, atrocities analogous to these must discontinue.
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