Consider the horrific conditions in the sweatshops that produce fakes and use this information to inspire others to action

July 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

With the summer of 2010’s atmospheric dial set to “braise,” many of us in the States who have been slow-cooked over the past couple of months have spent our days sprinting for a spot in front of jacked-up air conditioners or poolside within a few tiptoes of a refreshing splash. Whether cool or hot, dry or damp, comfort has been the priority of the summer.

To the ready pool goer with a snoot stained blue from zinc oxide, taking a quick dip or lounging in front of an AC unit to get out of the heat may seem obvious, but the reality is that a large portion of the global population is denied the luxury of choice.

So while we casually chat about car seats heated to the temperature of short order grills or spend far too much time divining the different shapes of sweat marks that we see while riding the subway, let’s not forget those without options: the thousands abused by the counterfeit trade.

Take time to remember the assembly line workers who are forced to punch out fakes in hothouses. Remember that some of these workers receive an amount of water measured in thimbles and when dehydration and heat stroke strike, compassion is generally the last thing to be found on the factory floor. When a worker falls from exhaustion, they aren’t attended to. They’re replaced.

The conditions can be unfathomable and frightening, but this is the cruel reality of how fake goods are made. These sweatshops lack the elegance of the ateliers, the design boutiques and the laboratories where the original goods that inspire these fakes are created. And there is none of the eager camaraderie that produces these authentic pieces art. There is only shared desolation and the fragile empathy that comes from the knowledge that others are enduring it with you. This is not how life should be lived, certainly not when those who enjoy the luxury of choice can do something about it.

Let’s not forget this is an epidemic that we can do something about.

Take some time this summer, this week, perhaps tomorrow to speak with a friend, a coworker, or a stranger about the fake trade. Tell them about the reality of this exploitative industry and let them know about just how real the danger is to everyone involved, including the end buyer. It’s not just a handbag, a set of shoes, a set of tires, a wristwatch, or a bottle of pills they’ve gotten on the cheap. It’s a nightmarish collection of broken lives and injury. At the heart of the fake trade is the denial of basic human rights.

But it can be stopped. And you can help stop it. It begins and ends with education and awareness. Increase your own and that of others and we can help deliver the luxury of choice to others.

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