On this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges discusses the business of privately-run halfway houses with civil rights attorney Stanley Cohen. After 11-months in prison for a federal tax violation, Cohen spent three months in a New York halfway house operated by the GEO Group. He reflects on what he calls the “vile” conditions and profit-driven approach at such facilities. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at the world of the for-profit halfway houses located in most major US cities.
Charles Kernaghan, an anti-sweatshop activist noted for his confrontation with television hostess Kathie Lee Gifford, has vividly described conditions in Third World sweatshops.
He describes the factories as uniformly austere concrete buildings topped by razor wire and with armed guards who search the employees on entering and leaving. Employees are often teenage girls made to work as fast as possible by brutal foremen. These foremen verbally abuse or beat the girls to enforce compliance or sometimes use the threat of firing for sexual favors. The workers are allowed only two bathroom breaks a day. Hours are very long and forced overtime occurs with violations costing a day’s pay or termination. If a girl gets pregnant, she is fired. If workers attempt to form a union, they are fired and blacklisted, or even become the victims of death squads. There is presently a case in a US court brought by the United Steelworkers of America on behalf of workers in Coca-Cola bottling plants in Colombia, who have had several of their union leaders assassinated by death squads. Toxic chemicals are used in these sweatshops with no precautions. and the air in garment factories is filled with dust and lint.