Here is a great article from Ben Powell. He was a student at GMU with my mentor Dr. Chris Coyne. Powell presented a defense of sweatshops at Hampden-Sydney College and I was fortunate enough to be invited to dinner and the pub later to talk to him and he's a really cool guy. He's passionate about his work and ruthlessly meticulous about his research. He defended his point very well during the Q&A period. And allowed one certain female economics professor to make an ass out of herself. All in all, it was a great speech.
Here is one of my favorite segments from the paper linked above:
Even in specific cases where a company was allegedly exploiting sweatshop labor we found the jobs were usually better than average. In 9 of the 11 countries we surveyed, the average reported sweatshop wage, based on a 70-hour work week, equaled or exceeded average incomes. In Cambodia, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Honduras, the average wage paid by a firm accused of being a sweatshop is more than double the average income in that country. The Kathy Lee Gifford factory in Honduras was not an outlier—it was the norm.Eat your heart out Berkeley students. You can wear your "fair trade" clothes all you want, just know that children are prostituting their bodies because your movement caused their factory job to be eliminated.
Because sweatshops are better than the available alternatives, any reforms aimed at improving the lives of workers in sweatshops must not jeopardize the jobs that they already have.