My dear friends,
I am going to share with you an open letter addressed to the CEO’s of global textile corporations, written by a child survivor of undocumented and illegal sweatshops.
To the corporations and CEO’s holding the power to initiate global change.
It is my wish that the words I am sharing with you today become more than just words on paper. I am asking you to take action. This action has the opportunity to ripple out into the world with an exponential effect. This effect will challenge many matters of the existing global currency and trade system. But I promise you the rewards it will bring to the world will be far more valuable than profit.
As a child I know very little of the world around me, because of this I have become a victim of global consumerism.
- Today 40.3 million men women children from every part of the globe are victims of slavery
- 151.6 million children aged 5 to 17 are child labourers
- Over one billion people live under 1$ dollar a day
- 35% of all birth and 60% deaths go unrecorded
Sadly being an undocumented child put me at great risk to all of these things. I was born in a remote village where neither birth nor deaths records are kept, if you were to ask me
how old I am I couldn’t tell you honestly.
I can guess that I first became child labor between the age of 9 or 10. I worked for well known clothing corporations that used loosely regulated foreign manufacturing. In order to keep up with their demands for low cost fast production these factories setup illegal sweatshops in the inner cities using undocumented workers. 6 of us lived, worked and slept in a 10 by 10 room without a bathroom or clean water. We were forced to work 7 days a week for 10 to 12 hours a day, getting paid less than 2 a day. My only bed was the large pile of clothes I produced each day.
At night I fell asleep on these clothes and dreamt of where they were going to end up and who would wear them. If you are reading this and do not know who made your clothes you may be wearing my clothes right now.
There are millions of undocumented, men women and children suffering at the hands of corporate profits. In the sweatshops I have seen how chemicals and dyes are discarded into the water ways and drains illegally. We used to have beautiful river running throughout the city, They are almost dead now, because of industrial waste. Today industrial pollutants are the No.1 poison in Nepal’s Rivers. Nature has never known suffering like it has today at the hands of irresponsible and unaccountable
I do not blame you for stealing my child hood or polluting this planet. I know that in order to be accountable for one,we must be accountable for all. We must make a change in the way we produce and trade goods that ensures the rights of every human being and our environment. The principles of Fair Trade have the potential to heal mass suffering in the world, while also offering an abundant and thriving system of Global trade.
- I am asking you to trade working with corrupt production facilities for working with disadvantage producers.
- I am asking you to trade environmental pollution for agreements to protect the earth.
- I am asking you to trade corporate profits for safe working conditions.
- I am asking you to trade your forced and child labors for equal workers rights for all men and women.
- I am asking you to trade slave labor wages for living wages.
- I am asking you to trade shady business ethics for transparent agreements of mutual profits.
It’s up to us to change the world for all of us. It took so much courage, sacrifice, and magic to bring you this message. The little girl that wrote this letter is the women now and fighting against sweatshop, child labor, and forced marriage. Please join me in this effort.