Child Labor in the Fast Fashion Industry

Hi everyone,

One of the biggest consequences from fast fashion is child labor. I feel like it can be a pretty misunderstood topic because a lot of people don’t understand why these children are agreeing to work in the first place and why they can’t just leave. I’ll break everything down for you, and hopefully you have more information on this by the time you’re finished reading.

According to the International Labour Organization, there are around 170 million kids engaged in child labor to this day. 79 million of these children are doing labor that organizations want to get rid of . A lot of these children come from different backgrounds and countries, and it’s not always obvious that these children are working because a lot of work is “under the table.” What do I mean by that? Just that the labor is largely unregulated, leading those in charge to take advantage of the work children can do. Subcontracting is one of the biggest issues because of how unregulated it is, making a lot of issues go unnoticed.

Like most jobs, the fast fashion industry offers promises to workers. A lot of the times, things like fair wages, stable working conditions, proper trainings, accommodations, and three meals a day are stated as bonuses that come with the job. However, many of these promises are under false pretenses. When the worker realizes that these promises are broken, it can usually be too late or too dangerous to leave the industry. Children are also employed because they’re vulnerable and can be taken advantage of easily. The employers make it hard for workers to speak up due to the power dynamic that is established in the workplace.

Another issue with child labor is the lack of education for workers. Many of these children give up school and getting their degree so that they can support themselves and their family. This leads them to sacrifice not only their education but also important cognitive skills that they would otherwise not learn.

The sad, unfortunate truth is that many children are going to stay in this cycle because they feel as if the opportunity in fast fashion is the only way to make an income and support their family. The best thing that we can do as individuals is to advocate for the rights of these children and, ultimately, stop cooperating with the fast fashion cycle.

If you have more questions about this topic, you can drop them below and I’ll be happy to answer or send you some links with information.

See you soon with some more posts!

-Emily Berrol

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