Nike and Child Labor Analytical Essay by Nicky

An in-depth exploration of the legal and ethical issues regarding Nike's exploitative child labor practices in China.
# 150236 | 5,207 words | 5 sources | APA | 2012 | US

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The paper addresses the ethical questions regarding child labor and focuses on Nike's use of child labor in China. The paper examines how the United States and China regulate child labor, and finds that the U.S. law is drafted to permit foreign child labor, and while there is no real loophole in China's anti-child labor laws, they are not sufficiently stringent to discourage American corporations from utilizing child laborers in their sweatshops. The paper looks at the theory of ethical relativism and the concept of social responsibility and
calls for a treaty to prevent child labor. The paper posits that this proposed treaty would go a long way towards solving the problem of exploitative child labor, but it would almost certainly never be ratified. The paper concludes, however, that eventually, through a combination of legal and social pressure, the practice of exploiting child labor will become as taboo as outright slavery currently is.

Legal Issues
Ethical Relativism
Social Responsibility
Corrective Action

From the Paper:

"While the above-described laws certainly appear aimed at eliminating exploitative child labor practices, it is clear that they are not adequate to do so. The international community has failed to include any penalties for countries that outsource their labor to countries where child labor is a frequent practice. For example, examining US law, it is clear that the law is drafted to permit foreign child labor. The Fair Labor Standards Act specifically states that "No producer, manufacturer, or dealer shall ship or deliver for shipment in commerce any goods produced in an establishment situated in the United States," making no provision for goods produced in an establishment outside of the United States (29 U.S.C.S. 201 (12)(a). There is absolutely nothing in domestic U.S. law prohibiting products created by oppressive child labor from entering into the domestic market, as long as such products are not produced domestically.
"Furthermore, even though the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child specifically addresses child labor, it does so in a manner that places the onus of preventing child labor on the country where such labor is performed. In Article 32(2), the UN directs State Parties to provide for minimum ages for employment, regulate hours and conditions of employment, and provide for penalties and sanctions when such laws are violated (United Nations, 1989). However, the UN Convention fails to place any burden on the countries utilizing non-domestic child labor. Because outsourcing countries generally have greater economic power than the countries where such labor is performed, it would probably be more appropriate to create laws aimed at punishing companies who utilize oppressive child labor, whether that labor is foreign or domestic."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C.S. 201et seq., (2004).
  • Global Exchange. (2007). Nike campaign: frequently asked questions. Retrieved September 7, 2009 from GlobalExchange.orgWeb site:
  • United Nations. (1989). Convention on the rights of the child. Retrieved September 7, 2009 from Web site:
  • Velasquez, M., Andre, C., Shanks, T., and Meyer, M. (2008). Ethical relativism. Retrieved September 7, 2009 from Markkula Center for Applied EthicsWeb site:
  • Xiaofeng, G. and Qian, W. (2008). Authorities seek greater enforcement of child labor laws. Retrieved September 7, 2009, from ChinadailyWeb site:

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Nike and Child Labor (2012, January 30) Retrieved November 28, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Nike and Child Labor" 30 January 2012. Web. 28 November. 2023. <>