#Human Rights
Small independent clothing stores in Kelowna, B.C. Canada

Fast fashion, the rage of providing fashionable clothes for cheap, has become the norm. Unfortunately, it also comes with a cost, a cost which too easily slips our minds:

Our brains are programmed to feel empathy towards suffering that we physically see, so good intentioned people tend to forget about the plight of the sweatshop workers off in Bangladesh or China. But the suffering of sweat shop workers is real, and it is not an anomaly. For us to buy a T-shirt for as cheap as $10.00 to $20.00, people in undeveloped countries, often children, are the ones paying the cost.

Sweat shop workers, often young children, are paid well below a living wage, while forced to endure terrible working conditions. While each situation is unique, all of them have in common that the efficiency and profit of the factory are put before the rights and needs of the workers. It is common for sweat shops workers to be verbally, physically, and/or sexually abused; they often are forced to work 12 hour days, without overtime and without adequate breaks; they receive no sick leave or holidays; furthermore, they often work in dangerous working conditions, without proper lighting or proper safety and/or emergency procedures in place. These conditions are a violation of the human right to safety in the workplace. These people are depending on consumers around the world to wake up and realize that we have the power to help end this injustice.

Many people around the world are taking a stand and looking for alternatives to Fast Fashion. Some choose to only buy locally made items, which is a step in the right direction, but people in developing countries, desperately need to make an income. Buying Fair-Trade ensures that the workers in developing countries are paid at least living wages for their work and are treated ethically.

Unfortunately, choosing to buy Fair Trade is not an easy decision to make. Not only does it cost more, but it is difficult to find shops that offer Fair Trade clothing brands outside of online shopping. The problem with online shopping is that not only are consumers paying more to buy Fair Trade, but they also have to pay for the cost of shipping, without being able to even try on the clothes they are investing in! However, if local independent shops were willing to join in the cause by carrying Fair Trade clothes, consumers could be saved the cost of shipping and could be confident in their purchase, being given the opportunity to try the clothing on, and thus know that the article of clothing is something that they want to invest in.

We, the undersigned, certify that 1) I am either a citizen of Kelowna or regularly shop in Kelowna, and 2) I see the value of buying Fair Trade clothing, and 3) I call on local independent clothing stores in the Kelowna area to carry Fair Trade clothing brands.
Thank-you for your support in putting an end to the injustice of sweat shops.

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The Support sweat shop workers: A call for Fair Trade Brands in Local Shops petition to Small independent clothing stores in Kelowna, B.C. Canada was written by Julianne McLaren and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.