World Cup Soccer Balls Missed the Goal Set 13 Years Ago: Child Labor, Poverty Wages, Temporary Workers

For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Trina Tocco, International Labor Rights Forum (USA), + 1 269 873 1000, trina.tocco@ilrf.org

World Cup Soccer Balls Missed the Goal Set 13 Years Ago: Child Labor, Poverty Wages, Temporary Workers

WASHINGTON - As excitement grows for the
upcoming FIFA
World Cup beginning shortly in South
Africa, there is a part of the World Cup
that many sports fans will not see.  The workers stitching soccer balls
in
Pakistan, India, China
and Thailand
continue to experience alarming labor rights violations even 13 years
after the
soccer ball industry signed the "Atlanta Agreement" committing to
clean up the industry. The
International
Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) released a new report titled "Missed
the Goal for Workers
: the Reality of Soccer Ball Stitchers in
Pakistan, India,
China and Thailand" today

The research found that the decade-long effort by governments,
companies, and
other stakeholders to eliminate child labor in this industry has seen
only
limited success. Child labor still exists in soccer ball production in
India and Pakistan.

"Even after all of these
years, low wages and a
dangerous working environment in the industry remain almost entirely
unaddressed," reports Bama Athreya, Executive Director of the International
Labor Rights
Forum
.  "It's time for buyers, factories and
industry associations such as FIFA to take responsibility for continued
labor
rights violations in the production of soccer balls."

The report highlights that:

  • More than half of the 218
    surveyed
    workers in Pakistan
    reported that they did not make the legal minimum wage per month.
  • In one Pakistani
    manufacturer, ILRF
    researchers found that all interviewed stitching center or home based
    workers
    were temporarily employed resulting workers not having access to
    healthcare or
    social security.
  • In the same Pakistani
    manufacturer's supply chain, female home-based workers faced
    discrimination based on their gender. They were paid the least and faced
    the
    possibility of losing their jobs permanently due to pregnancy.
  • In one Chinese factory,
    workers were
    found to work up to 21 hours a day during high seasons and without one
    day off
    in an entire month.
  • Indian stitching centers
    were
    described as "pathetic." Proper drinking water or medical care
    facilities, and even toilets were often absent.
  • Child labor was identified
    by
    workers producing for three different factories in Pakistan.

ILRF is calling on the
soccer ball
industry to take immediate action to address the issues of extremely low
wages
and proliferation of temporary workers to improve conditions for the
workers
who produce the balls at the center of the 2010 World Cup.

The report will be
available on June
7, 2010 at: http://www.laborrights.org/stop-child-forced-labor/foulball-campaign/resources/12331.

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ILRF is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. ILRF serves a unique role among human rights organizations as advocates for and with working poor around the world. We believe that all workers have the right to a safe working environment where they are treated with dignity and respect, and where they can organize freely to defend and promote their rights and interests.

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