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Agatha Schmaedick in Indonesia

Freedom Fighter of the Month

Agatha Schmaedick

Field Director/Southeast Asia
for the Worker Rights Consortium


Agatha Schmaedick is a long-time human rights and anti-sweatshop activist, focusing her efforts on southeast Asia, spending many of her college years working with the Indonesia Human Rights Network and the East Timor Action Network. And since 2002, Schmaedick has been working with the Worker Rights Consortium in an effort to get proper payment and treatment for workers in Asia.

When the clothing and athletic shoe industries were rocked with sweatshop allegations in the late 1990s, the corporations tried to protect their image with a number of cosmetic maneuvers: hiring auditors who didn't dig too deep; creating "codes of conduct" that no one bothered to enforce; creating sweatshop-monitoring agencies who were loyal to the interests of their creators.

The Worker Rights Consortium was created as a fair alternative, which would actually investigate the factories used to make clothing that is sold by corporations and universities. It has become a common action for student activists these days to pressure their colleges to affiliate with the WRC to make sure that their campus stores are sweatshop-free.

Schmaedick goes out into the field, traveling to factories in Indonesia to find out firsthand what goes on there, to help protect the workers and keep a light shining on what big business would like to keep hidden.

Worker Rights Consortium: www.workersrights.org