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The Child Victims of the Counterfeit Trade

There are those who say that counterfeiting of luxury goods is a 'victimless crime.'   The cry was especially loud when New York Council member Margaret Chin proposed a fine on buyers of counterfeit goods, like the fake luxury bags commonly found on the Canal Street market in her district.

 Even without the video you can view here, only a little bit of thought should surface the question: "Who exactly makes all those cheap knockoff bags?"

Reading from her book, "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster," Newsweek author Dana Thomas gives the gruesome answer:

"I remember walking into an assembly plant in Thailand a couple of years ago and seeing six or seven little children, all under 10 years old, sitting on the floor assembling counterfeit leather handbags,’ an investigator told me … ‘The owners had broken the children’s legs and tied the lower leg to the thigh so the bones wouldn’t mend. [They] did it because the children said they wanted to go outside and play.’ ”

In one heartbreaking story after another Thomas describes the filthy conditions and indentured status of the children in places like China and Thailand, assembling fake luxury handbags and other goods.

I recommend Thomas’ book before going too far with the victimless crime idea.

Here she is reading from her book: