There are 218 million child laborers around the world. Child labor is defined as children under the age of 18 working long hours on a regular or a full time basis. These children have little to no access to education, while working under abusive treatment by their employers. Most of these kids are trapped and are forced into child labor due to debts owed or just outright slavery (Child Labour, Freethechildren.com).
Although child labor is an on going issue around the world, not much has been done about it. However, there are those who attempt to break the silence of child labor and speak out. Iqbal Masih was four years old when he was sold for $16 dollars into bonded labor at a carpet factory. His father had abandoned his family, and his mother struggled to keep up financially. Iqbal, as a child was severely malnourished and mistreated while working 12 hours a day. At the age of ten, a local rights organization discovered this situation and helped Iqbal escape the factory. At the age of 12, he travelled to the U.S. and Sweden to speak out against child labor. Unfortunately, when Iqbal returned to Pakistan, he was shot and killed. Masih inspired many around the world. His story is real, and over 200 million other children around the world can relate to his story (Child Labour, Freethechildren.com).
Ian Maitland understands that international sweatshops exist. However no one has bothered to bring up the actually issue in which Maitland thinks to be, what should be the appropriate labor standards and appropriate labor wages in sweatshops. There are three proposed standards or principles to regulate these policies. These principles Maitland describes include the home-country standard, the living wage standard and the classical liberal standard. The home-country standard is that “international corporations have an ethical duty to pay the same wages and provide the same labor standards regardless of where they operate” (Maitland, 430). According to Thomas Donaldson, this principle is ineffective. By making the U.S. wage levels as the benchmark for fairness, this would “eliminate the role of the international market in establishing salary levels, and this in turn eliminates the incentive U.S. corporations have to hire foreign workers” (Maitland, 430). If this was the case, and American multinational corporations have the desire to be ethical and wish to pay equal wages to those abroad, U.S. would have little incentive to move their manufacturing overseas (Maitland, 430).
Secondly, there is the “living wage” standard.