Campaigns to ban imports of child-made products don’t always produce the effects activists intend. In 1992, under pressure from U.S. activists and politicians, Bangladeshi garment factories (which send 60 percent of their exports to the U.S.) fired about 50,000 of their child workers. UNICEF researchers found the children in other — often more dangerous — jobs, including prostitution. More recent campaigns have tried to link bans on child labor to follow-up programs. In 1995, Bangladeshi clothing manufacturers pledged not to hire children and to contribute money to schools for former workers; last year, Pakistani carpet manufacturers adopted a similar plan. Whether or not those plans are implemented remains to be seen, but the “Rugmark” label on rugs from Pakistan, India, or Nepal signifies that the manufacturers are committed to a child-free workplace, are independently inspected, and contribute funds to support the education of about 1,500 children.

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