Monday, July 27, 2009

Sweat Shops or 'Export Processing Zones'

Further to my previous posting, about the extractive industries and how the Tanzanian government does little to protect Tanzanian people from the excesses of this massively wealthy industry, here's some more mixed news.

Fourteen regions have been identified as suitable for Export Processing Zones (EPZ). EPZs are almost indistinguishable from sweat shops. Fair enough, the government needs to find some way to get more people into employment and to generate some revenue for the country. But EPZs have been operating for sevearl decades in several countries and they simply lead to exploitation.

In theory, they don't have to lead to exploitation. In theory, the government could use existing legislation and international agreements to protect their people against the overwork, underpay, sexual coercion and other forms of exploitation faced by employees in existing EPZ. And that may be what the Tanzanian government is intending.

But, looking at their record with regard to the gold mining industry, the fishing industry, tourism and other areas of commerce, it seems unlikely that anything will be done that might interfere with rich multinationals becoming richer, at all costs. Any threat of regulation or legislation could result in these vultures leaving the country and moving to somewhere regulation and legislation could always be waved in the interests of moneymaking. Sphere: Related Content

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