Fake Justice: Counterfeit and Child Labor
In light of the new Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) exhibit Faking It: Originals, Copies and Counterfeits, we felt it important to address the underbelly of counterfeit fashion as it relates to our mission and the topic of human justice.
A $600 billion industry, counterfeit manufacturing is especially rampant in China, India and Brazil. Beyond intellectual property and trademark violations, the perpetrators directly contribute to organized crime on a global scale - child labor, human trafficking, drugs and terrorist activity.
"People would changed their behavior if they knew where the $50 for that fake handbag was going...child labor is one of the most egregious crimes on the planet, and when you buy a fake, you're supporting that, " explained Valerie Salembier, former PR Director if the New York City Police Department and current CEO of The Authentics Foundation.
FIT's exhibit shines a light on the violation of creative design, but we hope this will spark a larger conversation about the ripple effect of the production of counterfeit goods.
A ripple effect that includes children, many not more than ten-years-old, forced to assemble counterfeit handbags with rusted needles in a dirty factory. Children who do not play outside or receive regular meals. Children who do not go to school or receive love.
As the price of goods decrease something has to give, and labor is often a first choice. The need for cheap labor to support counterfeit operations directly relates to the rise of human trafficking victims destined for sweatshops.
Is the price really worth the cost?
The answer is no, it is never worth it.
The Museum at FIT's Faking It: Originals, Copies, and Counterfeits exhibit will run from December 2, 2014 - April 25, 2015.
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