Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Freedom is on the march!

To the Mariana Islands.

But unlike that OTHER freedom on the march, I'm not sure corporate America is supporting this one. Click on the "all the major brands" link in the article below to view the legal case which will free the laborers in the Mariana Islands. From the Center for American Progress:


The Isles that Bind
Ah, the tropical Northern Marianas Islands. About three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines, with a population of just over 80,000, these U.S. territories acquired after World War II are the central locale of a "dirty drama of bondage" that enmeshes disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, House leader Tom Delay, President Bush, and scores of conservative lawmakers, journalists, and activists. That's because the Marianas (and particularly the main island, Saipan) are also the site of America's most shoddy labor practices. Human "brokers" bring thousands there to work as sex slaves and in cramped sweatshop garment factories where clothes (complete with "Made in the U.S.A." tag) have been produced for all the major brands: Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, Calvin Klein, Liz Claiborne, The Limited, J.C. Penney, and – surprise, surprise – Wal-Mart. The workers are "paid barely half the U.S. minimum hourly wage," and are "forced to live behind barbed wire in squalid shacks minus plumbing, work 12 hours a day, often seven days a week, without any of the legal protections U.S. workers are guaranteed." And if DeLay, Abramoff, and President Bush get to decide, that's how things will stay.

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