A sweatshop is a workplace with poor working conditions, such as:
- Unfair wages
- Unreasonable hours
- Lack of benefits for workers
- Hazardous environment
- Improper safety equipment
In the apparel industry, 90% of all workers in sweatshops are women.
In some cases, they are forced to take birth control and routine pregnancy tests, in order for the employer to avoid paying maternity leave and health benefits.
The fast fashion business model is a catalyst for sweatshop practices, as it highly depends on low production costs.
Brands rarely own factories. They usually hire a third-party company to produce the items for them. These companies then subcontract other factories.
That's usually where sweatshops are found.
The best way to make sure a product is sweatshop-free is producing it locally by people we know in person and who are fairly compensated doing what they love to do.
All pictures in this post were taken by ourselves in China, 2012.