I happened to be watching a show on World Link TV. It was about people in other countries and how they work very hard for big corporations. People work from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm at night, and only get about $15 dollars a month. Some of the children even lie to get a job, saying they are 18, but they are only 11, 12 and 13. The families are poor so the kids have to work. Even when the kids lie, the employers don't check to make sure they are 18. I don't think they really care if they are young or that they work so hard for so little money. Some of the children don't see their parents for months.
On a little island called Saipan, Chinese people work there. In China, corporation agents told the Chinese people they would be coming to the USA, but they weren't. They were coming to a little island, called Saipan, owned by the USA. The people worked hard, day and night, for very little money. The corporations did trickery; they put "Made in the USA" on the clothes because they were made on this island.
It makes you think of all the little plastic toys and stuffed animals that are made in poor countries. We just play with them and throw them away. All that work for nothing!
What inspired me the most to do this project was the way the people in Saipan were treated. Also, the cost of my jean jacket, which may have been made there, was equal to two months pay for one person. It just didn't seem right.
So I sent this letter out to give awareness to what is going on. I sent copies of the letter to big corporations. Wal-Mart and Mattel responded and sent me a letter back.
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Abbey Forbes, I am 12 years old.
I was watching a TV show about people in poor countries who work very hard in corporations like Nike and Gap and other large corporations.
I was wondering where your clothes and toys are made?
What are the working conditions at the factories?
How much do people get paid?
What are you policies to check to make sure that there are no under-aged workers in the factories?
And how often do you check to make sure the factories are going by your policies?
I hope this makes people aware of where all the things come from that fill up the stores. So please think about that when you buy clothing and toys.
-- Abbey Forbes, 12, homeschooler, Port Deposit, MD. See the International Convention on Children's Rights.
Announcing the 2004
Youth Honor Awards!
We invite your entries on:
Nature and Environment
Peace, Justice and Equality
Spirituality and Tolerance
Youth Activism and Society
Creative writing (essays, interviews, plays, stories, etc. under 750 words; poems under 30 lines), photo-essays and artwork (up to 8 pieces) welcome!
Send by June 20th, 2004.
Skipping Stones Youth Awards
P. O. Box 3939
Eugene, Oregon 97401 USA