Guest Posts

Author Interview

Posted by on Jan 8, 2017 in Guest Posts, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Author Interview

Author Interview

This week I am thrilled to be hosted on 2 Me From Him, a blog written by Norma Gail, a Christian blogger and a Bookvana Award winning author. Stop by to discover how my students respond to having a published author as a teacher and whether I think it’s more important to write in order to teach or to entertain. You can also enter a Rafflecopter giveaway to win a print copy of The Healer’s Rune. Please note the giveaway is only open from January 6 until January 12, 2017.

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Slavery in the 21st Century

Posted by on Mar 5, 2016 in Guest Posts, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Slavery in the 21st Century

Slavery in the 21st Century

Slavery in the 21st Century

Author: Will Woods

The Jungle, a novel written by Upton Sinclair, depicted the lives of immigrants in the early twentieth century. These immigrants worked in inhumane conditions at unsanitary workstations in the meatpacking industry in Chicago, Illinois. In the novel these places were fictional, but the truth is that they were real. In modern society they are known as sweatshops. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a sweatshop is “a shop or factory in which employees work for long hours at low wages and under unhealthy conditions.” In China, Europe, and even in our homeland, the United States of America, sweatshops thrive. Sweatshops are not just businesses that provide people with low-income pay- they are the heart of slavery in the twenty-first century.

The victims of sweatshops are people who have lost their civil rights and have become slaves. A slave is “a person entirely under the domination of some influence or person” (Dictionary.com). Just as the slaveholders in the American Civil War did 150 years ago, today’s sweatshop owners basically brainwash their “employees” into thinking that the only way of life is working in these horrific places. Sweatshop workers are also very limited in what they can and cannot do. “Sweatshops may also have policies that severely restrict workers’ freedoms, including limiting bathroom breaks and even conversations with fellow workers. At its worst, violence is used against sweatshop workers” (Encyclopedia.com). Verbal, physical, and sexual abuse are common in these facilities. Workers are not allowed to have thoughts of their own, to speak out of turn, to have bathroom breaks, or to eat and drink. According to an article in Businessweek, there are many cases, especially in Asia, where the bosses beat the workers if they are not working hard or fast enough. In these sweatshops, workers’ rights matter little to their overseers.

Workers in sweatshops are known to be fined on a daily basis. In some sweatshops, workers are fined for arriving late, for forgetting to turn lights on or off, or for taking too long in the bathroom or on breaks. A fine can cost up to two months’ pay. If workers cannot afford to pay fines, they are unable to quit their jobs, and become enslaved by their bosses. ”Workers there face a life of fines and beating,” says Liu Zhang, a former sweatshop worker who quit after several months (Businessweek). This is not new; this idea has been around for many decades. When America was settled, farmers told the people back home that America was a land of riches, with prairies as far as the eye can see. As a result, potential immigrants wanted to come to America, but they could never afford the trip on their own. The landowners told them that the trip would be paid for, but the immigrants would have to work until they paid off the debt incurred on the trip. This gave rise to the term “indentured servant.” These indentured servants had to work for many years before their debts were paid off. Some worked for the rest of their lives, as do many in sweatshops today. If a sweatshop worker gets fined, he is enslaved and is forced to work until the debt is paid off, no matter the length of time it takes. Fining is a very popular way for the sweatshops to enslave workers because it strips them of their civil rights and does not allow them to escape until the debt is paid off.

Sweatshops all over the world are also known to abuse women’s rights. As with men, women are paid wages not fit to support the basic costs of living, and they are subjected to unsafe working conditions. Women are very commonly sexually abused in sweatshops, sometimes for punishment, and other times for the boss’ pleasure. “Scores of young Sri Lankan women guest workers have been sexually abused and repeatedly raped, over the course of years, while sewing clothing for Wal-Mart, Hanes, Target, Macy’s, Lands’ End and other labels at the Classic Factory in Jordan” (Classic Fashion in Jordan). According to feminist.org, 90 percent of sweatshop laborers are women, a majority of them between the ages of 15 and 22 years of age. Along with 70-plus hour shifts per week and unjust pay, these women also have to come home and take care of their kids. This makes them more vulnerable to disease, exhaustion, ill health, and possible unwanted pregnancy from rape. In addition to these abuses, it is not uncommon for women to be forced into indentured servitude. Many women are lured by recruiters who promise wonderful opportunities in far-away lands. These women will often pay thousands of dollars in recruitment and contract “fees”, tying themselves to indentured slavery that can last for many years.

Most sweatshops pay workers based on what they produce instead of paying them by the hour, thereby forcing them to work non-stop. According to Global Exchange, the workers at a certain Mexican sweatshop are expected to meet a quota of 1,000 pieces per day. Depending on the product that the factory produces, that could mean producing 1,000 shirts or 1,000 shoes. For the workers to meet this quota, they need to craft more than one piece per minute. The quota is so high that the workers are unable to have a drink or use the bathroom all day. The workers would get fined by their boss if they tried to take a break. The system that most sweatshops use to pay their workers, which forces them to labor all day long, shows that the overseers don’t care about the workers’ well-being, and that they would rather suck the workers clean until there is no money, energy, or spirit left.

Sweatshops were nearly eradicated after World War II due to the unionizing of America’s apparel industries. Employees earned wages above the poverty level, so sweatshops became outdated. Unfortunately, due to a rise of undocumented immigrants and weakening unions, the sweatshops came back (De Jesus). For years people lived happy, comfortable lives because most workers could find jobs for a livable wage. Then sweatshops came back and dragged more and more people down into a living hell. Sweatshops were destroyed because there was no need for them, but now they are back in numbers greater than before.

Sweatshops rob workers of their rights, subjecting them to the greed of the owners. These workers are miserable, their lives wasting away while they are constantly cheated and abused. They are unable to support themselves, let alone their families. Many of them get injured and, in many cases, die on the job because their bosses refuse to pay for safe working conditions, such as guards on machines or face masks. The workers live in filthy, overpopulated dorms provided by their bosses. Workers are sucked in, trapped, and treated like slaves because they are desperate for the money needed to care for their families. These people are in need of rescue. No one deserves to lose his or her life to selfish, inconsiderate slaveholders. It is up to caring citizens like us to put a stop to sweatshops once and for all.

 

Works Cited

“Sweatshop.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, 2015. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.

“Slave.” Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, 2016. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.

“Sweatshops.” Encyclopedia.com. N.p., 2009. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.

Roberts, Dexter and Aaron Bernstein. “Inside a Chinese Sweatshop: ‘A Life of Fines and Beating.’” Bloomberg Business, 2005. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.

“Feminists Against Sweatshops.” Feminist Majority Foundation, 2014. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.

“’Free Trade’ and Sweatshops.” Global Exchange, 2011. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.

“Classic Fashion in Jordan ─ Sweatshop Abuse, Sexual Predators.” Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, 2011. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.

De Jesus, Jessica and Tabea Kay. “Ethical Style: There Are Still Sweatshops in America.” Good.is. GOOD, 2016. N.p., n.d. 21 Feb. 2016.

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Thinking Thoughts Guest Post | Christmas Devotion

Posted by on Dec 27, 2015 in Guest Posts, Inspirational/Devotional | Comments Off on Thinking Thoughts Guest Post | Christmas Devotion

Thinking Thoughts Guest Post | Christmas Devotion

I’m a guest blogger today at Emily Hendryx’s blog Thinking Thoughts.  Read about my favorite Christmas memory here.

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