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Randy Walker Entrepreneur, VB MVP

websiteotherballs As I sit here watching Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, I'm saddened to watch Indian children making soccer balls.  I realize that the show is obviously over dramatized, but the reality is, there are children making soccer balls in India.  So, how can any retail store, like Walmart, or the manufacturer, Mitre allow this to happen?

The U.S. Dept of Labor International Affairs is specifically tasked with preventing this from happening.  Walmart has rules and regulations forbidding the use of child labor.  I'm doubtful even Mitre fully understands how this is happening.  So who's to blame?  Probably all of them, with a majority of it being Mitre, and we, the consumer, bearing the entire weight of it.

More than likely Mitre has not it's due diligence in examining the contracted company that produces the soccer balls.  Unless a manufacturer owns the entire process of/in manufacturing a product, it's easy to not know details.  After all, that's part of what you're paying for. 

So where does Walmart's blame figure in?  I know for a fact, that Walmart examines it's vendor's manufacturing processes.  But it's impossible to examine all 500,000+ products' manufacturing process.  Each CPG company (Consumer Package Goods, manufacturer, vendor) is required to sign an agreement which includes restricting the use of child labor. 

Essentially, as a retailer, Walmart holds no fault.  However, the overall mission of Walmart, and ultimately the consumer IS to blame.  Walmart constantly strives to negotiate the lowest possible price with each manufacturer.  But who drives that goal?  Us, the consumer and our desire to have cheap products, and more of them.

(Randy Walker, this blog writer, sells software to manufacturers who sell their products at Walmart.  This post represents Randy's opinion and is not representative of Mitre, Walmart, or the company he is employed by.)

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Posted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 10:19 PM | Back to top


Comments on this post: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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Wow, after watching Real Sports last night I don't ever want to buy a Mitre ball ever again! I currently own one that looks like the child labor balls, and I'm going to dispose of it immediately. Watching the program made me feel sick because those kids were all extremely young, and were basically slaves to the loan officers. Sickening, just sickening
Left by Aaron on Sep 17, 2008 2:08 PM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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Aaron,

I actually recommend you do NOT destroy the ball. Take it back to wherever you bought it from for a refund, if possible, even if you don't have the receipt. If they won't take it back, don't destroy it. USE IT. The damage has already been done and there's no sense in crying over spilt milk. So enjoy every minute and say a prayer for the families and children exploited throughout the world.
Left by Randy Walker on Sep 17, 2008 3:47 PM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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the company that produces the Mitre soccer balls is Regent Sports Corp. they are base in Long Island. 1-800-645-5190. Regent sold this ball to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart should be ashamed to be associated with a company like that. Return the ball to Wal-Mart and tell them the reason why!!!
Left by todd on Sep 18, 2008 8:03 AM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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I was outraged when I watched it. I e-mailed an AOL article about it to everyone I knew. Many e-mailed me and want to do something. I am thinking of starting an organization called SMAC-Soccer Moms Against Child Labour. Face it, moms like myself are usually the ones in Walmart buying the equipment. I have been enough to know. We need to spread the word to Soccer Leagues across the US and encourage them to boycott Mitre and Walmart.
Left by Esther on Sep 21, 2008 1:12 PM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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Over the last year, I have researched soccer ball manufacturers for a foundation and I was horrified. It is up to the consumer to really pay attention to what they purchase and where it comes from. That applied to all things. I did find an organization that sells fair trade. I say it again. Fair trade. Independent monitoring is a step to insuring that the product you purchase doesn't use child labor. If you purchase a cheap ball, chances are someone else is paying the price.
Left by Kathy on Sep 23, 2008 7:28 AM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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I'm writing to David Beckham about this. Someone in his position is well suited to raising a voice about this topic.
It comes down to this--- Are we willing to pay $50 for a soccer ball instead of $7? I think we could be if that was what it takes.

I also think that this is a topic that we Americans don't really think about that much, we see labels that read "No Child Labor Used" and feel that it is okay.
This piece on Real Sports was very eye-opening, I can't believe we don't hear more about this stuff, what has happened to real journalism in this country? All we hear about is lipstick on pigs, what's Britney doing, and crap like that.
I agree with everything others here have written, the story is heartbreaking- these little children sold into slavery so we can have our "Low Price Guaranteed" makes me want to throw up.

Assigning blame is a complicated issue, but I feel that a large portion belongs at the feet of the ball manufacturers, they are subcontracting their manufacturing and are responsible for investigating those with whom they do business. The truth is, as consumers, we cannot know what goes on down the chain of events that brings a soccer ball to our store shelves.

I'm writing to Mr. Beckham with a challenge--- Why not encourage the manufacture of balls in the USA? Or Great Britain? Yes.. they will cost more, I think he could bring a voice to the issue and look like a big hero in the process. "I refuse to play soccer with a ball manufactured by a child slave."

-Just fired up and nauseous right now,
Elsa M.
Left by Elsa M. on Sep 23, 2008 11:22 AM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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The entire thing makes me sick to my stomache! I really want to know what I can do to help these poor children. I don't have any kids but I never want to buy a soccer ball! I want to know what I can do. Also I'd like to help the guy (can't remember his name) who's helping the kids get back into school. Any advise?
Left by Rebecca B. on Sep 26, 2008 12:56 PM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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I don't think the news report was overdramitized at all. Those poor children. It breaks my heart to think of my own child trapped in that situation. Will someone please do something to stop this and make it a thing of the past.
Left by Lorna Pelkey on Sep 30, 2008 7:53 AM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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Like you guys I was totally sickened by the report so I took it one step further and emailed Mitre UK. I think we have to go to the root of the evil. If people ban together and refuse to use Mitre products I'm sure they will notice a drop in sales so maybe then they'll do something about it.
Left by Kassie on Oct 02, 2008 1:24 PM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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I encourage anyone interested in this issue to check out the International Labor Rights Website, which provides the investigation report of Jalundhar and Meerut, India along with additional information about the children's working conditions, rights, etc.

Here is the link: http://www.laborrights.org/stop-child-labor/foulball-campaign/1734

Please try and get involved!
Left by laborrights on Oct 06, 2008 3:52 PM

# We have a certified Fair Trade alternative soccer ball line
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Randy, you'll be pleased to know that we've launched an alternative product line of certified Fair Trade soccer balls for the North American market.

The Fair Trade third-party certification ensures the adults who stitched the sports balls are paid a fair living wage and ensured healthy working conditions.

You can learn more on our blog at www.fairtradesports.com. We'd love to have you stop by for a visit.

- Scott James
Fair Trade Sports
Blog: www.fairtradesports.com
Eco-Certified Fair Trade soccer balls and more!
Left by Scott James on Oct 15, 2008 12:32 PM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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Hey everyone. Im doing a speech against child labor tomorrow at my college and I as well watched the Real Sports Episode. However I want to show it to the listeners, and I dont know where to find it? Any Advice? if someone knows the link that would be awesome!
Have a good one!
Left by Bekah on Oct 29, 2008 5:57 PM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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I really think that wherever we go thier were always be child labor when people grow you should invest money into i am when i am in my 20's
Left by Andres on Nov 23, 2008 9:23 AM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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i think it's disgusting to be honest
to see young children of a young age making footballs and so on for rich companies like mitre and Nike
Left by hannah on Dec 30, 2008 6:52 AM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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Ingram Pope at Regent knew about the issue, in fact only 1 type of ball was returned by Wal Mart. Several other balls were made under Regent's license agreement with Mitre and they did not bring this to Wal Mart atention. Those balls are still on the shelf and Regent is currently selling the stock out of their warehouse.
A lawsuit was issued by Regent claiming they tracked all the kids down and they were not the ones who sewed the balls-$$$$$$.
Yes the company and Pope in particular are the worst type of unethical companies.
Left by Halex in the House on May 13, 2009 8:42 AM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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I know about Fair Trade and a couple of other "no child labor" companies. It seems some companies, such as Brine and Puma, have bailed over to China, which to me is barely a step up over the Pakistan child problem. Does anyone know about where Diadora and Umbro fit into the equation?
Left by scott R on Sep 14, 2009 7:37 PM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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is this still going on today
Left by andres on Nov 09, 2009 7:35 PM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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I was so distraught after this that I e-mailed this article to everyone I had in my address book. Many e-mailed with suggestions as to what we can do to bring awareness. I think we need keep the story alive. The only way to try and stop this is to hit them where it hurts them.... wallets. Do we need to camp out in front of Walmart with signs and flyers to drum up some attention. Maybe we should. This is horrific and I can't in good conscience just ignore it.
Left by bonus di deposito on Mar 23, 2010 6:30 AM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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I don't think the news report was overdramitized at all. Those poor children. It breaks my heart to think of my own child trapped in that situation. Will someone please do something to stop this and make it a thing of the past.
Left by torrent download on Dec 07, 2010 3:28 PM

# re: Child Labor, India, Soccer Balls & Walmart
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Wow we have mitre balls in NZ and I am pretty sure that they are the same ones it is completely disgusting that anyone would a buse their fellow humans like this
Left by New Zealander on Apr 04, 2011 4:15 PM

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