P. Diddy Rapped for Child Labor
By George Anderson
The rapper formerly known as Sean, then Puffy and now P. Diddy Combs has had a Kathie Lee Gifford kind of week with labor activists charging the Honduran factory that manufactures his Sean John clothing line with being a sweat shop that does body searches of its employees and forces them to work 12-hour daily shifts.
Seamstresses at the factory are reportedly paid 24 cents for each Sean John sweat shirt ($50 suggested retail) they sew.
Mr. Combs promised to look into the charges when confronted with the allegations earlier in the week.
Based on past comments, profit motive would not appear to be the hip-hop mogul’s prime concern in the matter. “We used to talk about wanting to get some money, but that’s when hip-hop was based on your dreams and your fantasy. The whole thing now is the dreams and fantasies were achieved, and you don’t want to make it the focal point. You can’t keep beating that dead horse.”
Honduran officials are expected to release a report next week on findings from an inspection made at the assembly plant yesterday.
The issue of products being manufactured outside the U.S. by workers in lower-paying markets remains a major issue for labor activists. The U.S. textile industry is expected to lose 600,000 or more jobs when current import quotas covered under the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing come to an end in 2005.
Moderator’s Comment: Is free trade good for the economies of developed countries? [George
Anderson – Moderator]