Despite widespread criticism of the operations, sweatshops continue to function throughout the world, most notably in Asia, South America and Central America, with others scattered in Europe and the United States. Many name brand corporations continue to contract with sweatshop owners to save on labor costs and keep more profits.
Sweatshops are any work environment in which laborers are subject to severe exploitation. This ranges from substandard wages to unsafe working conditions. In most cases, sweatshops do not pay workers enough to cover the costs of essential needs, such as housing, food and healthcare. Sweatshops tend to focus on manufacturing clothing.
The worst sweatshops regard workers more like slaves than employees, forcing them to work long hours without compensation and even harassing and intimidating them. Children are often among those working in sweatshops. Women in many of these facilities are frequently sexually harassed.
The locations of sweatshops are typically places with low wages and minimal human rights protections. However, there are undocumented workers subject to similar treatment in U.S. cities like New York and Los Angeles. These workers also often labor for the garment industry. Many sweatshops engage in human trafficking, sending people from one country to another to provide cheap labor as they work off "debts."