8 Dates in Toy Sweatshop History

For the people who make plastic toys, some years were worse than others.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28876688@N03/2697297098/">marissaorton</a>/Flickr


Read also: The Good, the Bad, and the Snuggly, MoJo’s gift guide for the little ones on your list. 

Low points in recent toy-sweatshop history, as documented by the National Labor Committee.

1996: Haitians earn 7¢ for each Pocahontas T-shirt sewn; Wal-Mart sells them for $12.

2002: 80% of US toys now made in China.

2002: Guandong workers making toys for Mattel, Sega, and Wal-Mart use bare hands to handle toxic paints, glues, and solvents.

2004: Wal-Mart gives its Chinese toy factories 20 days’ advance notice of inspections.

2007: Chinese workers earn 53¢ an hour making Mattel’s Barbie Hug ‘n Heal Pet Doctor kit.

2008: Chinese teens found working 14 hours a day making Sesame Street toys.

2008: Employees of the Yongsheng Toy Factory spend 93 hours a week making Bratz dolls, with no extra pay for overtime.

2010: The International Council of Toy Industries, toy makers’ “social responsibility” group, still condones the use of 14-year-olds to make toys.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.