products of child labor
Today, an estimated 115 million children are working — often forced — to produce many of the basic items we buy for cheap at local malls and retail stores. Ranging from the food we eat to the accessories we wear, there are reportedly around 128 goods which exploit and degrade the well-being of these children. Below is a list of the five most common products of child labor.


5 Main Products of Child Labor


5. Cocoa

According to the Department of Labor, cocoa is produced in at least five countries which utilize child labor, including Ghana, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. Major candy companies such as Nestle and Hershey’s have been linked to some of these suppliers. Just recently, Nestle was accused of breaching its supplier code, including clauses of child labor, safety and working hours. Hershey’s, too, is reported to have at least thousands of children currently harvesting cocoa beans for the company in West Africa today.

4. Carpets

Currently being produced by five countries which utilize child labor, such as Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan, these products of child labor are being shipped to retail outlets around the world, including areas of Europe, Asia, and the United States.

3. Tobacco

One of the most popular goods in the world, tobacco has been reported to have been harvested in at least 15 countries that use child and forced labor. Philip Morris International, which manufactures Marlboro cigarettes, has actually admitted that the fields in which the company buys their plants have at least 72 child laborers: the youngest being 10 years old. Tobacco is being harvested by children in countries today such as Mexico, the Philippines, Argentina, Brazil and Uganda.

2. Electronics

Apple and Samsung, two of the world’s leading electronics corporations, have recently went under attack for alleged use of child labor. In fact, Apple recently discovered multiple infringements of child labor with some of their suppliers, including one Chinese company that employed at least 74 children. Samsung, too, has been accused by labor rights groups for employee mistreatment and for exploiting child labor. The investigation, which looked into eight factories in China, proved some employees were working at least 100 hours per month of overtime and that children were “knowingly employed.”

1. Cotton

Cotton is produced by at least 16 countries which use child labor, including China, Egypt and Turkey, according to the Department of Labor. In fact, some of our most popular retail chains — from H&M to Wal-Mart to Victoria’s Secret — have been accused of benefiting from child labor. H&M, one of the world’s leading fashion chains, is currently under pressure to eliminate its ties with clothing suppliers that buy cotton from Uzbekistan, where large amounts of the plant are harvested by children.

Before you buy something, know where it’s coming from. Stand up for what you believe. Let’s put an end to supporting these corporations who take advantage of children just like our own.

– Nick Magnanti

Sources: Huffington Post, Department of Labor, View Mixed
Photo: Bloomberg

Autumn has once again flown by. Snow queens and snow elements have descended upon New York City, which can only mean one thing: the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

The Super Bowl of fashion shows will be broadcast on December 10 and promises more bedazzled bosoms than ever.

Monica Mitro, executive vice president of communications and events for Victoria’s Secret, ensures that this year “will be the most elaborate show with the most elaborate costumes.”

Swarovski provided millions of crystals to frost over twenty pieces of luxurious lingerie, some of which were created with cutting edge 3D printed technology that crafted designs based off of digital scans of the models’ bodies. This development (another Swarovski contribution) yields fabric literally made of crystals, a must given the seasonal wintry theme (one of six) headlined by a Snow Queen and other Victoria’s Secret Angels. A team of experienced artisans and hair and makeup stylists work their magic to complement the work of costume creators; since the models can’t be left to strut their stuff alone, celebrity guests Taylor Swift, Fall Out Boy, and a Great Big World will provide entertainment.

Behind the scenes of it all? Money – and lots of it.

Since the first runway show in 1995, Victoria’s Secret executives have amped up funding 100-fold, increasing the show’s operating budget from a mere $120,000 to over $12 million, not including the show’s most iconic piece of lingerie.  2013’s “Royal Fantasy Bra” alone is worth an estimated $10 million (including the $2 million belt.) Adorned with 4,200 gems and a 52-karat ruby, this bra redefines extravagance.

Ultimately, the $12-plus million is a small price to pay for the brand’s largest promotional opportunity. CBS shelled out a cool $1 million for rights to broadcast the spectacle to a drooling audience of over 12 million.

If the millions budgeted for the 2013 show were allocated away from glorified undergarments and toward the fight for clean water, many more than 12 million lives would be permanently changed.

According to UNICEF, over 768 million people worldwide are without access to clean water and at high risk of contracting dangerous waterborne communicable diseases. An estimated 1,600 children die each day due to poor sanitation, hygiene, or water quality, all of which are preventable with simple solutions like hand pumps, water purification tablets, and Oral Rehydration Salts.

The UNICEF Tap Project is a nationwide initiative focused entirely on providing effective, economical life-saving measures to at-risk communities. Small sums yield significant change: $25 cleans almost 17,000 liters of contaminated water with purification tablets; $50 provides over 600 sachets of rehydration salts to combat dehydration; and $500 provides a hand pump to supply clean water to an entire town.

Were Victoria’s Secret executives to put the show on hold for just one year and siphon funds to UNICEF, the Tap Project could provide:

  • 24,000 hand pumps to communities in need of long-term access to clean water,
  • 144 million sachets of rehydration salts to combat dehydration (affecting nearly one-fifth of the entire population without clean water access) and
  • 8.1 billion liters of purified, safe and drinkable water.

On December 10, Victoria’s Secret’s head honchos will see green as the svelte snow angels strut their stuff. The next day, rather than undertaking plans to out-crystal this year’s show in 2014, perhaps they will pause and consider how they themselves could be angels in the fight for clean water.

Casey Ernstes

Sources: The New York Post, The World Bank, UNICEF USA, UNICEF USA, Women’s Wear Daily, Women’s Wear Daily
Photo: Eat Drink SetX

There are currently 222 million women around the world that lack access to contraception. The Global Poverty Project and Women Deliver have joined forces to create a new family planning initiative called It Takes Two to change that. The program seeks to increase the availability of family planning services around the world. Coming to fruition after last year’s Summit on Family Planning in London (which pledged $2.6 billion to help solve the family planning deficiencies in 120 developing countries) and the recent Women Deliver Global Conference in Malaysia, It Takes Two will work primarily by rewarding activism and advocacy.

Participants, through the Global Poverty Project’s mobile platform, will be able to win free contraception, and even design their own condom wrappers. According to Jill Sheffield, the founder and current president of Women Deliver, the It Takes Two program’s main goal is to inspire men and women to demand more access to family planning from their governments.

Though spear-headed by Women Deliver and the Global Poverty Project, other organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, the United Nations Population Fund, and many more are working together to support the program. The initiative is planned to take three years and is now available in the United States and Uganda.

The organization has a well-known ally in this effort. Ambassador to the program and Victoria’s Secret supermodel Erin Heatherton has said that the global lack of contraception is “one of the world’s most pressing issues.” Heatherton has also been a Victoria’s Secret Angel since 2008 and is an advocate who supports that family planning is pertinent to both men and women worldwide, going on to say that “Everyone should have the option to plan a family, and their choices shouldn’t be limited because of their socio-economic level or country of residence.”

– Samantha Mauney
Source: Artist Direct, Sun Times
Photo: Retro Fashion

Victoria’s Secret Model Erin Heatherton has teamed up with the Global Poverty Project for a new campaign called, It Takes Two. The campaign aims to raise awareness of, increase demand for, and improve access to family planning information and services around the world. The announcement coincides with the Women Deliver Global Conference in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the global health and empowerment of girls and women.

Erin Heatherton and the It Takes two campaign aim to motivate young men and women to take action in support of improving access to family planning services and information. They hope this will place pressure on governments, and to strive for significant progress and change.

Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of The Global Poverty Project believes that women are being denied a fundamental right when they are denied access to contraception. It Takes Two will utilize the Global Poverty Project’s online Global Citizen Platform to track and engage people.

The initiative is partnered with Women Deliver. Founder of Women Deliver, Jill Sheffield, has expressed her excitement to be a part of the campaign. She is looking forward to working with a project to help motivate countries to achieve their Family Planning 2020 goals and commitments. She believes that girls, boys, women and men all need to demand that their governments distribute family planning information and services. Sheffield believes this will give women more power and control over their lives.

Heatherton is also excited about her capacity to be part of such an important project. She feels that the lack of modern contraception to many women around the world is one of the world most pressing matters. She also believes that lack of contraception affects men and women, as well as a problem that should not be affected by a family’s socio-economic status. Everyone deserves fair access to family planning methods.

It Takes Two will launch first in the United States and second in Uganda. It will later expand to eight other countries. It is partnered with IPPF, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, UNFPA, Marie Stopes International and more.

– Caitlin Zusy
Source: Artist Direct
Photo: Global Poverty Project Tumblr