I feel the anti-sweatshop movement does help the people working there. If economics have proved anything it is the fact that people sometimes become so desperate that they will do anything for work, even if they make very little. When you have responsibilities or you are hungry, a dollar a day is better than zero. This does not make slave wages okay, under any circumstances. It's just a sign that people are desperate.
Anti-sweatshop movements do indeed help those who work in sweatshops. Although sweatshops still exist, any movement that helps to shed light on the working conditions in sweatshops, create a greater public awareness of the issue. Without such movements there would be no awareness at all. Just as new fair trade opportunities helped to give better pay and conditions for many who would have otherwise been overlooked by the system, anti-sweatshop movements continue to provide a better alternative.
I think that a lot needs to be done in order to better help the people live a good life. The movement is helping to gain these individuals a minimum wage of even two dollars a day that would improve conditions and would not cost companies that much. It is helping.
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People often forget that we had working conditions and sweatshops just as bad if not worse than what you'll find in Asia or Africa. It's called the industrial revolution and all developing countries have to go through it, so we have no right to tell them they can't do what we did to get here.
The anti-sweatshop and equal pay in developing countries movement has actually hurt the poor more than helped them (if they were even helped at all). Minimum wage causes unemployment, so forcing companies to pay higher means they'll have to fire workers or move out of the area entirely. Although these sweatshops are a terrible place to work, these people would be much, much, much worse off with no work at all. So please, next time you support one of these advocacies or "human rights" groups, or donate to some charity that promises to end sweatshops, know that your paying to put people who need the money out of work.
No, the anti-sweatshop movement doesn't do anything for the actual workers. It doesn't increase their pay, it doesn't make their working conditions safer, and it doesn't ensure that children won't be taken advantage of. All the movement really does is force a manufacturer to find another workforce in a different area that is not considered a sweatshop. Then the original shop reopens and it's business as usual, with a different client.