The race for masks can favor new slavers. Here are three tips to avoid it

 The race for masks can favor new slavers. Here are three tips to avoid it

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The obligation to wear masks to protect himself from the coronavirus he blew up the market for these devices. Once used only in hospitals and laboratories, gloves, masks and visors they have now become common objects, creating some difficulties for the poorest in the world. Not only because even the poorest people are still obliged to get the Dpi, but because many of them in this period are used precisely in the production of these devices, risking ending up in the exploiters’ network.

The examples are different: in recent years, as he revealed The Conversationlarge purchasers of medical devices, such as NHS, the British health service, have brought their supply chains under control, discovering labor exploitation phenomena for various suppliers, such as manufacturers of textiles and precisely of medical devices. A Guardian article in 2018 revealed conditions of exploitation and slavery in several rubber glove factories from which theNhs, while other suppliers of textiles and masks have remained implicated in investigations into the exploitation of child labor and the violation of human rights.

And Italy is certainly no exception: at the beginning of June an operation by the finance guard a Meadow brought the arrest of thirteen owners of reconverted Chinese textile firms. The investigation began with investigations into another Chinese citizen, who actually owned a factory where the workers came treated like slavesforced to work on shifts of up to 16 hours a day, without holidays, and to sleep and eat in the same workshops. The company, together with other contractors, recently made masks on behalf of another Prato company, the YL Group, recently converted to the production of medical devices and then included in the list of suppliers of the Tuscany region, the Department of Civil Protection and important chains of large retailers: millionaire contracts on which investigations have been extended.

In the world it is estimated that approx 40.3 million people are enslaved, 25 million of which are used in the production of goods and the provision of services. According to Global Slavery Index, only the G20 countries continue to import products at risk of being made by slavery workers worth $ 354 billion a year. And the covid-19 pandemic it is making more and more poor and vulnerable people, exposing them to the risk of being recruited by the exploiters. This is particularly evident with regard to personal protective equipment made indispensable to contain the infection. Controls on supply chains have in fact been reduced, due to the fact that the purchase of Dpi has become a priority. Many governments, such as the United States, have in fact decided in the emergency to eliminate the prohibitions on obtaining supplies from known companies to use labor in conditions of slavery, so you can grab extra supplies; on the other hand, more and more people are forced to make difficult choices in order to ensure survival, making it easier for recruiters to work.

To avoid contributing, even unconsciously, to the spread of slavery, few practical rules can be followed. First, avoid consumerism and learning how to reuse what you already have: the growing demand for low-priced products pushes companies to exploit workers more and more, to cut costs. In the case of masks, they can easily be made at home using old clothes or sheets, e WHO dictated the guidelines for using these products. Second, choose products made by the so-called “survivors”, that is, the workers who have managed to free themselves from a condition of slavery or exploitation by creating their own companies: many of these businesses in the world have converted to the production of Dpi. THEFinally, check if the company from which you intend to buy the goods you need has companies accused of exploiting labor among the suppliers.: In many cases, consumers can control the retailers’ supply chain by selecting companies that apply acceptable working conditions and respect human rights and by excluding others.


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