In October 2015, a group of students at Monash University in South Africa organized a simulation to challenge their fellow classmates and spread awareness. This event allowed participants to experience working in sweatshop-like conditions.

There were basically two activities: They had to screw and unscrew nuts and bolts for a 12 hour shift, or sort colored rice into piles, also for 12 hours straight.

The purpose of the sweatshop challenge is to give people an understanding of what it is like to experience the conditions that workers in a sweatshop environment are often susceptible to. Those who participate will be asked to do this activity and then “Imagine if this was your life seven days a week, 365 days a year. It isn’t your life and it shouldn’t be anyone else’s.”

They also had a film screening and photo exhibition to educate attendees about related issues.

When people talk about human slavery, those listening often appear completely confused.  They say “We don’t have slavery any more.  Slavery was abolished 150 years ago.  In the USA, a war over this issue was fought.  There are no slaves.”  But reality articulates itself in a different way.  Globally, it is estimated that there are nearly 36 million men, women and children that have been trafficked, and forced into slavery. Matt Friedman, 852 Freedom Campaign.

Reactions from participants

Footage of similar event in Hong Kong

The Sweatshop Challenge: Unite Against Slavery

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