This past April 2008 a major victory in the anti-sweatshop move was completed. Congress voted in a bill to be signed into law that will extend US Federal Immigration and Labor Laws in the US territory, Mariana Islands. The Mariana Islands have been known to have some of the worst labor abuses in the world.
The islands were used as a haven for many Chinese sweatshops to set up camp. The products produced there were used to deceive US consumers, since they carried the “Made in USA” tags. People consciously attempting to buy only US made clothing and other goods were mislead by the seemingly sweatshop free items. Throughout the 1990’s, anti-sweatshop activists and lobbyists worked to end these labor abuses and the deception of consumers but to no avail thanks to people like Jack Abramoff
However, thanks to the efforts of many anti-sweatshop groups including Co-op America the Mariana Islands’ workforce is now protected under the same laws as any of us hard working Americans. To learn more about the Mariana Island human rights movement, please check out the blog Unheard No More. For more information on ending sweatshops and how you can help, check out Co-op America’s Ending Sweatshops Guide or Sweatshop Watch.
Also, remember that many times the only way to wake a company up is by boycotting them and supporting companies that participate in fair labor and human rights. Remember Autonomie Project when you are looking for new footwear, bags, or clothing(coming soon) or any of these other wonderful companies listed on SweatFree Communities 2008 Shop with a Conscience Consumer Guide!