Technology is a funny thing. As much as we crave the flexibility that it lends our lives, we don’t like the constant work and responsibility it brings.
Luckily, we can decide our dependence on it – by simply turning off our cell phone or not lugging our laptops around with us.
A report by the Verité Research and Advocacy Initiative, Help Wanted: Hiring, Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery in the Global Economy, shows that workers in the IT industry in countries such as Malaysia and Taiwan, don’t have the same ability to walk away from technology whenever they choose. Technology is part of their jobs – in fact, they are essentially slaves to it.
Workers travel a long ways from small towns in countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, and Nepal to Taiwan and Malaysia to get jobs where, upon arrival, many have their passports taken away. A large portion of their wages are deducted, leaving them with little pay. Their living quarters are monitored.
Of course, what makes all of this even more appalling to me, is that it is taking place at the hands of U.S. corporations. The sleek and contemporary gadgets these corporations make often distract us from the dirty and atrocious labor practices taking place in Malaysia and Taiwan.
While their products make the lives of some simpler – they are harm others.
When many in the U.S. have just celebrated the 4th of July, and our country’s independence, the injustice we inflict upon those of other nations is all the more real to me.
What can we do to make corporations like Apple, DELL, HP, and Samsung accountable?
What we can do to make them care?
I am sure many of them have benefitted from the image of clean campuses in the Silicon Valley where workers can afford to drive hybrid cars. The pristine image created in Silicon Valley is not only thousands of miles from their production facilities, but a world away from the reality of how these products are produced.
What can be done to get the Steve Jobs and Michael Dells to take a look? I don’t know. But, I would truly like to believe that people with such creative minds and talents can help be part of the solution to this problem.