Shame is the True Name of Big Brands

BY Riska Maharani N.
18 Januari 2022
Shame is the True Name of Big Brands

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)  is a plan created by leaders from 193 countries around the world that came together to face the upcoming threats in the future. They see hunger, drought, war, plagues, and poverty as a frightening phenomenon which need to be eradicated. Not only in other cities but in their own cities and in the villages.

UNDP or the United Nations Development Programme is one of the leading organizations working to fulfill the SDGs by 2030. Present in almost 170 countries and regions, they are helping countries realize the Goals. They also fight for their goals so that people everywhere know how to do their part in facing the problems.

Industrial Revolution in this era has reached a point where the internet and digitalization have helped the development of the economy in human life and have become a set of tools for depending on. This phenomenon is called an Industrial Revolution 4.0, where it is a revolution in the industrial sector where it is highly dependent on Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Industrial Revolution 4.0, itself is a development where machines dominate work in a factory or cooperate with humans in making customer-oriented production field that constantly works on maintaining itself. The machines can work alone and can collect data, analyze it, and advise on it. In which this can be done by introducing self-optimization, self-cognition, and self-customization into the industry.

Because of the existence of SDGs in the development of industrial revolution 4.0, the government’s understanding has increased in the issue of exploitation of child labor.

Community organizations increasingly understand the importance of children’s future for the country. In which it means that ‘The child is the future of the nation and state’.

‘Shame is the true name of big brands’ this sentence really describes most of the big brands living around us. You may not know, but most of the stuff we used or consumed is all made by the blood of our own child. Take the coffee brand – Starbucks that we drink every morning as an example.

Children in Guatemala must sacrifice their childhood and youth by plucking and packing coffee beans every morning. They should have gone to school to get an education but instead, the opposite happened, where they have to sacrifice their precious time to go to the fields so they can meet their daily needs.

Not only the coffee we drank every morning, but there are also other nameable necessities in which their brand uses child labor such as the branded H&M Clothes and Jeans we use, or the Apple gadgets. All these name brands have become one of our necessities which at some point we do not know how they were produced in which by what, by whom, where and in which conditions.

When asked “Why do they work there?” they usually answer to “so we can meet our daily necessities”. From their statement, it shows that they have great expectations in the work. But instead they were all treated poorly and the working conditions were not supposed to be experienced by children at their young age. They do not even make a minimum wage, which resulted in not enough needs to support their families.


To satisfy the wants of each company, disobeying the well-known human law becomes a need for most businessmen. They will try every means and actions to get what they want. Child labor becomes one of its main actions to get what they aim for. On persuading these young workers they will advertise in fascinating ways, which will interests the poor families to make their children work.

In this era, where engine power has been made and could be used, even so, there were still many companies that used child labor as their workers. Only for the sake of more income and less expenses, these companies are willing to employ underage children.

Instead of improving the life of its people, this phenomenon creates a situation where the people became on a poorer state. Where they lack education and reach to a state where they could not do anything for the improvement of the country. This of course violates human rights and child protection rights.

We take the case of children living in Kashmir, India as an example. According to a report provided by the International Labor Organizations (ILO) in 2018, the number of child laborers from all parts of the world fell from 246 million in 2000 to around 152 million in 2016. But millions of children are constantly exploited for cheap labor, especially in countries like India.

These children work very hard to fulfill their family life. Children under the age of seventeen have sacrificed their childhood to work. Like Danish Hilal, who works as a housemaid at the home of a government’s house based in Srinagar in the Kashmir area, Jawahar Nagar, while his younger sister embroidered a scarf in a textile business, which were not registered in his native village (South Kashmir), where later on the products will be sold to westerners.

There were millions of Indian girls and boys are going to work every day in quarries and factories, or selling cigarettes on the street. According to the ILO, there were around 12.9 million Indian children who were involved in work between the ages of 7 and 17 years. When children are employed or do unpaid work, they tend to skip school or not even go to school so that this traps them in a coherent cycle of poverty.

The majority of child labor in the Kashmir valley is workers in the handicraft sector, where they have the reason that work centers are spread throughout the area and the work center requires workers. Surely most of its citizens accept and take on the job even though the terrain and topography are difficult and not easily accessible to the workers.

What is unfortunate about the existence of this work is that the work centers are apparently privately owned and owned by the government. What the government should have done is to improve the quality of the life of the people, but instead they do the opposite.

Only for the reason ‘so that the country’s cultural heritage does is not extinct’ and in order to expand its craft production base and to preserve its cultural heritage, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir launched a large handicraft training program decades ago in all states under the auspices of the Department Handicrafts which currently have 553 training centers operating in various areas where candidates are trained in different craft skills.

These happenings not only happened in Kashmir, but in other countries too. There are over 170 million children worldwide who are involved in the fashion industry. This involvement is spread in the supply chain from planting and picking cotton to sewing and packaging clothes, which these happenings occur majorly in developing nations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

According to the UNICEF, nowhere is more beset with child labor than the fashion industry. This has become exploitation in child rights and also in human rights.

We sometimes see child labor happened only in the industrial sector and also in rural areas. But, what about the namely brand television channel we watch every day? The child actors and actresses on Nickelodeon or Disney Channel can be viewed as victims of child labor too.

Why? Well, producing a season-long sitcom or series is definitely a hard work and in becoming child actors and celebrities, those children are often denied the opportunity to develop as normal children. They couldn’t go to normal schools and also can’t associate with kids the same age. This doesn’t sound quite right for what children’s should do.

Well, maybe it’s hard to think of Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and other actors and actresses who’s been starting their career at a very young age as having been a victim of child labor. But what is the different between them and those children who work in the industrial sector?

In improving the quality of life of the nation especially the children, and to reduce the exploitation of work such as; 1) Wages paid not in accordance with the work of the workers, 2) An inadequate work environment, and 3) Ill-treatment that is afflicted by workers, the government should have taken action on the country’s exports and imports or other economic matters.

So, there are fewer companies that will try to open up their startups or companies due to the change in law for export and import tariffs. The state should also be able to maximize the use of existing crops or the culture they have to improve the lives of their people.

“When child laborers were applied in many branded companies, who were to blame?” this question has become a great question mark. Many people ask the same question when child labor where the topic. We could also find many answers to this, according to how we see the situation from. But, in this case I would like to give the blame to the government.

Why? Because of the lack of attention that was given by the government to its people. Where they should have thought about the prosperity of its people, instead they were more concern about the improvement of the country’s GDP and development. Which is why, they allow these inhuman firms to open up their business in their country, with the intention of decreasing employment rate and also in improving the country’s GDP and development.

The country’s governments should have manage the country’s economic affairs well and the distribution of wealth, so that there is no term ‘The rich goes richer and the poor goes poorer’. Proper education and health which is guaranteed by the government should have been given to the people.

From the country’s situation where the country’s still poor even though there were branded firms opening they’re industry; the impact can be seen that the country lacks many things, both in governance and the economy. Hence, it prevents the country’s improvements.

There is no single definition for Economic Development. Economic Development can be interpreted in a positive or negative way, depending on how we look at the current situation or depend on the case we are discussing on.

If it is associated with the economic systems, it might mean an increase in the absolute size of, for instance, capital or annual production regardless of the size of the population which is commonly used before classical economics arose. It might mean an increase in complexity, in the articulation of various different functions or It might also mean signs of progress towards some’ ethically defined goal. (Robbins, 1968)

But because there is no deep meaning for Economic Development itself, its aims could be the answer to the question ‘What theoretic strategy that could turn this situation?’ To answer this, we can look at the objectives of this theory.

Their main goal in an effort to improve the economic welfare of the community is through efforts that involve job creation, job retention, an increase in the tax base and quality of life. As there is no single definition for economic development, there is absolutely no single strategy, policy, or program for achieving a successful economic development.

Its nations will have differences in their strengths, geographical and political weaknesses. Therefore, each country will have a unique set of challenges and ways for its economic development.

It is unfortunate when our earth has undergone changes both in internal and external aspects, but there are still many rulers or businessmen who were unaware of this phenomenon and still rely on their own ways to increase profits for themselves.

Yes, one of them is by using child labor to do manual labor. Just because the companies don’t want to lose or spend a significant amount of money to pay the wages of these workers, they are willing to employ underage children.

In addition to the issue of wages, the problem of the poor work environment, conditions and long working hours that exceed normal workers is 7 to 8 hours, they often experience. Not only that but the indecent treatment received by workers also often occurs. It’s very unfortunate the things that happened to these workers. Apart from exploitation, violence, and injustice also they experience.

To overcome this, not only is the government responsible, but we as fellow humans are also responsible for what happens. We should increase our sense of solidarity with fellow living beings so that our lives are all peaceful and free from the suffering of others.


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Robbins, L. (1968). The Theory of Economic Development in the History of Economic Thought. London: MACMILLAN.

UNDP. (n.d.). Sustainable Development Goals. UNDP.