Last month, Raveena Aulakh, a global environment reporter for the Toronto Star, wrote a story detailing her experience working in a clothing sweatshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where her boss was literally a 9-year-old girl named Meem. In her article, she outlines the complex process she went through to obtain the job, as well as her day-to-day dealings with the harsh conditions and cultural economic factors surrounding the factory.
In an interview with Buzzfeed today, Aulakh went into more detail about Meem, who she describes as a "happy 9 year working in what everyone thinks is a grim situation. That she doesn’t know that made everyone want to rescue her," highlighting the tragedy of the stolen youth children like Meem face.
Some may look to criticize Aulakh's methods by claiming she merely acted as a "tourist," spending only a brief period of time in Bangladesh—where she was under the watchful eye of her editors, who she admits constantly asked her about the threat of danger she faced—before returning to her home in Canada. Being able to leave anytime you want doesn't truly subject you to the pain these young workers will endure for years to come.
But at the end of the day, Aulakh has done much more to help than most of us can claim, and has done her work in the interest of changing a horrific system that negatively impacts the lives of thousands simply to give privileged people like ourselves a way to spend their disposable income.