Child Labor Ethical Dilema

1357 WordsAug 21, 20106 Pages
Ethical Dilemma – Global Child Labor The pressure to produce goods inexpensively has driven companies to seek low-cost areas for producing those goods. In the quest to compete with low-cost discounters such as Wal-Mart, companies have been increasingly driven to overseas markets to produce their goods. Within the textile arena, especially, this phenomenon is occurring with regularity. One look at the label of the clothing in one's closet reveals clothing that was produced in Bangalore, Honduras, China, Bombay, and other far-flung regions throughout the world. As the world becomes smaller and the global marketplace increases, companies have been establishing plants in nations in which the labor costs are cheap. While many deride…show more content…
Although the United States has advanced to the point that children are not generally pressed into service to help support the family, other nations around the world are still in transition from an agrarian society to an industrial age. As they make this transition, they are experiencing the same struggles, and some new ones, that the United States experienced in its early years. The dilemma, for global companies, is to decide whom they will hire. If they hire children, they need to anticipate a backlash due to the practice. Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, very publicly faced a child-labor issue when its Kathie Lee line was found to have been producing clothing using child labor in sweatshop-like environments in Nicaragua, Honduras, and in the United States in plants in Manhattan (Ortega, 1998). When investigative reporters and watchdog groups revealed what was happening, Kathie Lee Gifford, the spokesperson for the line, was mortified. She took Wal-Mart to task in public statements, and stated that she was very disappointed that they had not enforced proper ethical practices in their plants (Ortega, 1998). She and her husband established a foundation and assisted immigrants and women and children in poorer nations, and invested millions of her own dollars to address the issue. Wal-Mart established inspection teams to police the practices

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