So, you’ve spotted an almost exact replica of the item you’ve been coveting, and it’s just a fraction of the original price. Win-win, right?
Well, at a surface level, it may seem like you’ve scored yourself quite the bargain. But there is a substantial unforeseen cost to your transaction that may give you pause for thought — that your purchase is harming the world’s most vulnerable.
The fact of the matter is that the majority of fake goods are produced in factories with abhorrent labor conditions. It is an issue that has been extensively investigated and reported on, but unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped many consumers from purchasing fake goods. Keep reading to learn more — what you discover may just halt your purchase.
1. Fake Goods Support Sweatshop Labor
While you may not wish to think that your simple purchase of a fake could be contributing to something so unthinkable as sweatshop labor, it unfortunately is.
Most sweatshop factories that produce counterfeit goods are located in poor, developing countries. These countries are chosen by counterfeiting companies in order to take their dollar further, as along with low overheads, they are a haven for vulnerable people who have little option but to work for mere dollars an hour — or per day.
While it is not possible to find statistics specifically about how much workers in factories producing counterfeit goods earn, there is a wealth of information about those who work in sweatshops. Here are just a few notable stats about how much sweatshop labor workers earn, as well as the conditions they must endure:
- Only 4 out of the top 10 nations that have the highest number of suspected sweatshops have an hourly wage that exceeds $1 per hour.
- Bangladeshi sweatshop workers earn around 3,000 taka a month (approx. $36 US), and many are forced to work 14–16 hours a day seven days a week.
- Many sweatshop workers clock in up to 100 hours a week.
- 15% of sweatshop workers are young women between the ages of 15–25.
That’s not to mention the hazardous conditions workers face. To use War on Want’s words, they must confront “unsafe, cramped and hazardous conditions which often lead to work injuries and factory fires.” Sexual harassment and discrimination is also rife, along with poor air quality and overheating.
2. Fake Goods Support Child Labor
Unfortunately, the situation isn’t any better for children, who often have to endure the harshest conditions and treatment to churn out everything from fake Yeezys to copycat Cartier.
It is estimated that 168 million children ages 5 to 14 are forced to work. While not all of the businesses involved are counterfeit businesses, a sizeable portion are. Likewise their adult counterparts, children also earn barely enough to survive for their work in sweatshop factories.
If you can stomach it, also consider this recount from Dana Thomas, author of the book, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster, of visiting a sweatshop in Thailand:
“I remember walking into an assembly plant in Thailand a couple of years ago and seeing six or seven little children, all under 10 years old, sitting on the floor assembling counterfeit leather handbags,’ an investigator told me… ‘The owners had broken the children’s legs and tied the lower leg to the thigh so the bones wouldn’t mend. [They] did it because the children said they wanted to go outside and play.”
It’s inconceivable that anyone, let alone children, are forced into such conditions. However, this is the all too true reality of how fake goods get made. After all, how is a counterfeit company meant to turn a profit if they pay their workers even $10 an hour, when the product they’re selling is only $10? That’s the justification for unscrupulous practices that circumvent any basic labor laws, let alone human rights laws. And buying fakes is just propelling this mentality and industry — something you can help stop.
3. What You Can Do
If you’re now wondering what you can do to help, the answer is simple: stop purchasing fake goods. As much as you want to score a great price on fake Apple products or Converse shoes, is it really worth fueling an industry which harms the world’s most vulnerable?
If you’d like to proactively help fight the number of counterfeit goods available for purchase online, sign up to work with simplyBrand, and start tracking down and identifying fake goods online. As we explain in our article, Get Involved in a One-of-a-Kind Blockchain Project and Earn Cryptocurrency, you’ll not only assist in eliminating fakes, you’ll also be able to earn crypto for your efforts!
simplyBrand is an advanced ecosystem that draws on artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and crowdsourcing to eliminate counterfeit products in digital commerce. To learn more, visit the simplyBrand website.
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