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Global Sweatshop Wage Slavery

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(1) Human trafficking

On arrival, foreign guest workers are illegally stripped of their passports for as long as three or more years, despite repeated pleas to return them.

(2) Primitive dorm conditions

As many as 10 workers live in small 12 x 14 rooms, sleeping on double-level bug-infested bunk beds. There's no shower. Water is available only one or two hours a night. Forced to conserve it, workers use small plastic buckets for morning sponge baths. It's not potable. Bathrooms are filthy and have no doors or lights.

The roof leaks and shoddy electrical system wiring frequently shorts out. With no proper kitchen, workers cook in their rooms. No heat or hot water is provided despite winter temperatures as low as freezing. They have to use their own money for portable heaters, and anyone complaining is threatened or beaten.

(3) Substandard food

Company-provided food is half cooked, raw on the inside, tasting terrible, and inadequate. Breakfast is a piece of pita bread and tea. Three times a week, they get an egg. Lunch is small portions of fish, beef, chicken or eggs with rice. Dinner is vegetables and rice. Amounts are so inadequate, workers have to supplement with their own.

(4) Forced overtime and seven-day workweeks

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After the onset of global economic crisis, working hours have been from 7:30AM to 4:00 or 4:30PM with Fridays off. However, before December 2008, they worked up to 13 and a half hours daily from 7:30AM up to 9:00PM seven days a week. Overtime was obligatory, and missing a shift resulted in two or three days pay docked. Including mandatory overtime, workers earned from $211 - $268 a month.

Most Jordanians won't work in garment factories, so tens of thousands of guest workers are recruited. They endure illegal abuses, but put up with them to support their families at home.

(5) Failure to communicate

The plant manager is Palestinian. Supervisors are Bangladeshi. They earn four times worker rates, and are told to drive them as hard as possible as well as spy on and control them.

One incident was over worker complaints about lack of water. Supervisor Mr. Rezaul mocked them, saying he'd cut of their penises if they kept complaining. Around the same time, supervisor Mr. Mosharraf slapped a woman very hard in the face for not meeting her quota. Anger was building for months. A work stoppage followed, after which 10 - 12 policemen entered the factory, threatened the workers and said either work or be handcuffed and imprisoned. The incident continued for days, including more threats and beatings, finally getting about 50 police to charge the dorm, arrest and imprison 24 workers, including 10 men and 14 women.

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Six were held for over a week, then forcibly deported without their personal belongings. The others were released. While in prison, they were beaten, had no mattresses, no pillows, little food, and unsafe drinking water. The six deported had worked in Jordan for up to five years with no complaints against them.

Six other Musa workers were imprisoned in unknown locations. Factory conditions remain deplorable, and workers are threatened with imprisonment if they fail to meet mandatory production goals, called excessive and impossible to achieve. As a result, they're terrified since management targets the most outspoken.

After the US - Jordan Free Trade Agreement took effect in December 2001, Jordanian exports to America rose 2,000 percent, the result of virtually no worker protections, making them easily exploitable.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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Thank you Mr. Lendman for keeping this issue in pl... by Heretic616 on Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 at 5:41:52 PM
Americans wanted cheaper goods. They cheered when ... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 at 11:33:56 PM
They tell people what they think they want to hear... by Bryan Emmel on Friday, Feb 26, 2010 at 1:42:11 AM