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Child Labor Used in Device Manufacturing?

An article in the British Medical Journal, reported by, says that Pakistan, which produces almost 20% of the world's surgical instruments, uses extensive child labor in its operations. According to the author of the journal piece, a London surgeon who investigated manufacturing operations in Sialkot, the Pakistani city that is the hub of its device-making industry, about 7,700 of the 50,000 workers at these plants are children.

Devices made in Pakistan tend to be simple stainless steel surgical tools and not complicated technologies. But still, these are unfair labor practices. And, oddly, they may have been exacerbated by the growing adoption of global standards. These have made simple devices almost identical, forcing them to compete on price, which may lead their makers to find cheap labor to build them. The cost of living in Pakistan is far lower than it is in the United States or Western Europe; savings can still be achieved by paying these workers a living wage and eschewing child labor.

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