Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Handmade brick slavery

Above: Many children and handicapped persons are kidnapped and sold to underground brick factories in Shanxi and Henan Provinces, like this one in Mou County, Henan. The children are forced to work 14 to 16 hours a day.(Epoch Times Archive)

London UK - ANTI-SLAVERY International has just brought out a poster based on the 2009 USA Department of Labor 'Goods produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor' showing bricks made by forced labour in Burma, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Nepal. According to the USA Dept of Labor slave bricks are also known to be produced in Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Uganda.

In the western world, in Europe, including the UK and Ireland, and in North America, some builders merchants, specialist brick suppliers and some salvage yards now sell new handmade bricks which look like old handmades, imported from developing countries.

Forced labour is defined as 'all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the worker does not offer himself or herself voluntarily'. Brickmaking is one of the four major industries deploying forced labour.

Consumers are warned to be vigilant about where and what they buy. Ask for provenance details before agreeing a purchase.

Salvo suggests that western consumers should consider buying reclaimed local bricks of known provenance from their local salvage yard rather than new bricks of uncertain manufacture from a developing country. Reclaimed bricks are more eco-friendly than new bricks because every reused old brick saves around 6MJ of energy which is the equivalent of half a kilo of carbon dioxide per brick, or a tonne of CO2 for every 2,000 bricks.

Products of Slavery poster


More than 460 rescued from brick kiln slavery in China

Reclaimed bricks on SalvoWEB

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