The Foul Ball Campaign of the International
Labor Rights Fund
¨ Almost all soccer balls in the US are imported. The past decade has seen an 83% increase, mostly among children and teens, in the number of US soccer players. To meet this expanding US market, the soccer ball industry has greatly increased production in nations where kids making leather hand-stitched balls are a major source of their labor.
¨ Sialkot is a region in eastern Pakistan where most of the worlds soccer balls are produced. Each year this region makes 35 million soccer balls and 20 to 25% of this work is done by children as young as six years old.
¨ Child laborers typically work 12-hour days and get paid 60 cents for each ball.
¨ Each soccer ball is made of 32 leather panels and 642 stitches. Children use an awl to punch holes for each stitch.
¨ Child laborers work into almost totally dark and quiet environments and are punished if they fall asleep, have a messy work area, miscut, waste material, or complain about mistreatment.
¨ Child laborers are forced to work until their fingers become gnarled and crippled from sewing tight stitches. They also suffer from other physical and emotional problems due to their harsh working conditions.
¨ The international soccer association, FIFA, has adopted a child labor free standard for the balls that carry the FIFA label.
Make sure that you dont use soccer balls made by kids!
1. Look for the FIFA label as the first step towards buying child labor free balls.
2. Support a letter writing campaign to continue to pressure soccer ball retailers and manufacturers to use child-free labor.
3. Ask the gym teachers at local schools if the balls they use have a FIFA label
4. Organize local schools to join the Minnesota Sweatfree Schools Campaign through the Resource Center of the Americas. Visit their webpage at www.americas.org
5. To learn more about childrens rights, contact Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. Visit our webpage at mnadvocates.org to learn more about a school in Nepal that offers kids an alternative to becoming child laborers.