Most people think that buying counterfeit goods is completely harmless, in fact when students from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising were surveyed 8 out of 10 did not even know that buying fake designer goods was harmful to the American economy, let alone that child labor was used to make these products. The truth is that counterfeiting is a heinous crime that can not go unnoticed. The factories where the children work are especially gruesome, the children work all day in dimly lit rooms with out breaks and when they do not obey their superiors they are beaten and in extreme cases they have been tied to the tables or had their legs broken, so they could not escape. Because the factories are not kept up to code electrical fires start and the children trapped inside and left in there to burn to death. Little media attention is directed at these horrible crimes perhaps its because they are too gruesome, but other evidence suggests that because the counterfeit industry is run by the mafia and supported by terrorists groups, people in the media are too afraid to cover the stories. When people make the decision to buy a fake Gucci bag they rarely think about the production of what went into making that bag, which is why most people do not know that child labor is used. This is exactly why the consumers need to be educated about their purchases.
“It is estimated that counterfeiting is a $600 billion a year problem. In fact, it’s a problem that has grown over 10,000 percent in the past two decades, in part fueled by CONSUMER DEMAND”. In the year 2012 we are still in an economic recession, 1/3 of adults are unemployed, 33% of adults who are of retirement age have been forced to delay their retirement, and 48% of people have seen the value of their homes decline. If the counterfeiting industry was eliminated the U.S. economy would improve greatly. It is estimated that counterfeiting costs the U.S. $250 billion annually and it is directly responsible for the loss of over 750,000 American jobs, as well as posing a threat to the safety and global health of the world.
The newest supporter of the counterfeit industry is the internet, in fact a recent study suggests that 80% of fake goods bought were from internet sites. Harpers Bazaar has now teamed up with ebay-one of the biggest sellers of fake goods-to stop the sale of these counterfeit items. However, this past June Louis Vuitton sued Ebay in Paris and won their case because 90% of the Vuitton bags offered on Ebay were counterfeit. Ebay allowed these vendors to sell on their site even with descriptions like “replica Louis Vuitton bag” and took no action against repeat offenders, who continually sold fake goods. The French court ordered ebay to pay $63 million to Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and other companies in order to compensate for damages done to the brands name, Ebay is currently trying to appeal the ruling. Ironically Ebay now works with Bazaar Magazine to fight against the fakes and educate consumers-they obviously learned their lesson. Authorities around the world are taking action not only on internet companies, but street vendors as well. Recently $3.5 million dollars worth of fake designer products were taken from a shop in New York, the owners were charged with Trademark Infringement and the authorities in New York said that they were really cracking down on all the street vendors.
Fake designer goods are not harmless, in fact they are the complete opposite. Child labor is use to make these products, the mafia and terrorist groups support this industry, and they are taking hundreds of thousands of jobs away from Americans. Yet, consumers keep buying these fake goods naive to the hidden world behind these products. In order to successfully eradicate this industry the average consumer needs to become educated. Media should not be afraid to show gruesome scenes of sweat shops and big companies like Dolce and Gabanna should help teach their customers about this counterfeit industry. Unfortunately nothing is purely perfect, the fashion industry although glamorous and beautiful has its hidden ugly side. The counterfeit industry just happens to be one of the most ugly sides in existence. People need to realize that buying fakes just for the status symbol is both selfish and heinous, instead people need to just save up for the real thing instead of taking the easy route out. So please, lets just forget the fakes.