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Toys & China
Many toys are produced in factories operating under sweatshop-like conditions. Despite protests, the industry continues to source toys from factories with documented labour and human rights violations.
Three-quarters of the world's toys are made in China. Working conditions have been improving, but serious labour violations continue. Toy workers have to work long days in the peak season without appropriate pay, often for more than 80 hours a week' well above China's legal limit. Many factories impose fines for refusing and other 'misdemeanours', such as missing a day's work or spending too long on a toilet break.
The ICTI CARE Process is the toy industry's ethical manufacturing program aimed at ensuring safe and humane workplace environments for toy factory workers worldwide. However, this process has been criticised by labour rights organisations.
What you can do:
Choose 'China-free' toys from companies such as Playmobil and Lego who manufacture most of their products in Europe; or Fair-trade accredited products.
Toys last a lot longer than kids' interest in them so keep them moving around. Pass them on to family and friends (and tell everyone you're happy to get hand-me-downs as presents), join your local Freecycle, seek out used toy fairs, buy and sell used toys online or join a local toy library.
See report: The Dark Side of the Glittering World - Exploitation in Toy Factories in China