Crucifixes fashioned by sweatshop workers in China have been found for sale inside historic churches in New York City. The workers rights organization the National Labor Committee released a report that linked the crucifixes to a factory in China where women as young as 15-years-old were forced to work 15-hour days, seven days each week for 26.5 cents per hour. China’s minimum wage is legally 55 cents per hour, twice what the workers were being paid. A mandatory fee was then deducted from the workers’ salaries for room and board in “primitive and filthy company dorms,” the National Labor Committee reports, bringing the actual wages down to 9 cents per hour.
Since the National Labor Committee released the report, Trinity Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City have both pulled the crucifixes from their shelves, Democracy Now reports. The 4.63-billion-dollar Association for Christian Retail, however, has fought the report, calling it “unfounded and irresponsible.” In an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Charles Kernaghan, executive director of the National Labor Committee, compared the Association for Christian Retail to the retail giant Wal-Mart saying, “Crucifixes have been reduced to just another cheap sweatshop commodity.” —Bennett Gordon