ESL etc.

Global Issues and Activism in English Language Teaching

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Products of Slavery

4 Comments

Products of Slavery is a deceptively simple website: a gray world map dotted with yellow numbered circles. Each of these circles corresponds to a country, each number to the variety of products produced in that country by child or forced labor. Click on a number and it bursts into a collection of icons depicting the different products produced by child / forced labor in that country. Click one of these product icons and you are taken to a detailed page listing facts for that particular product in that particular country. Each of these facts is clearly cited, with a link to the original source.

Alternatively, you can navigate starting with the product. In this case, the yellow numbered circles indicate how many countries use child or forced labor to produce it.

The information is important and well-researched, and it is organized in a very accessible way. I would certainly use it as part of a unit on child or forced labor, but I would also use it with more general units on business or shopping.

Thanks Larry

Tags: blog · child labor · consumerism · fair trade · global issues activities · human rights · infographics · maps · politics · poverty & wealth · racism · reading · visual prompts

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 khalid // Nov 22, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    You know I love this kinda thing…

    …and here comes the problem I have with this particular one: I feel like it is very incomplete, and it almost comes off like a political project. For example clicking on Pakistan and carpets, the “facts” listed a lot about other countries, and then this:

    “Parents in Pakistan may take out a loan against their child’s labour, meaning that the child has to work in the carpet weaving industry rather than attend full-time education.”

    Key word here: “may”. It’s almost like they are putting the entire industry on the cross, and then indicating that parents might do this.

    Moreover, it doesn’t really address the structural roots of the problems, and instead points to industries. I think it would be more useful to address the institutions surrounding the production of these goods (laws, trade and otherwise; corporations; etc).

    What I’m getting at – why on earth would a Pakistani parent take a loan against their child’s labor? Probably because they are stuck in some extreme destitute situation. It is a little off-putting to see the problems identified in this way (with the poor themselves), instead of looking at structures of wealth and power.

    …still, I don’t want to buy that carpet.

  • 2 Dave // Nov 23, 2010 at 10:08 am

    You’re absolutely right about their being a lot of nuances and factors that aren’t reflected here. But I like this because it counters the belief that slavery and child labor are things of the past, which is what many people in many wealthier countries think. It also ties these things directly to things that we consume (like cotton) instead of making them someone else’s problem.

    Blaming the poor is a problem, though. No parent with reasonable alternatives would sell (or rent out) their kid.

  • 3 Karenne Sylvester // Nov 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I’ve not much to add Dave, just really wanted you know I’ve seen it and to say thanks for the link!

  • 4 chris // Nov 27, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I need to explore more, but what seems to be missing is a link to “alternative” source.

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