Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Slave Labor Flourishing in Argentinian Sweatshops

An estimated 150,000 people are working in sweatshops in Argentina under forced labor conditions. These are largely Bolivian immigrants who are luring into the country with promises of a good income and a place to live. But when they arrive they are locked into a small room, recieving very little pay.

A test case was brought before Argentinan courts by Jose Orellan, a Bolivian immigrant who escape a textile sweatshop in Buenos Aires with his family. The family of five ended up living in a single room. The Boss refused to give him most of his pay, saying he would hold it until the end of the year so that Orellan "wouldn't spend it all." Food was included in the contract but for employees only. In order for the children to eat, Orellan and his wife had to go hungry.

Many undocumented workers end up in hospitals with lung ailments caused by the dust they inhale in the workshops. They were rarely allowed to go out; Orellan was not even allowed to take his children to the hospital when they fell sick.

Eventually, Orellan and his family was able to escape with the aid of a community organization and the city's ombudsperson's office. He brought charged against his former boss in October but the case was dismissed by a judge who ruled that there was no merit to the case.


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