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Protecting Laborers Amidst the Transnational Expansion Essay (Article)

Context and Summary

Export processing zones contribute to the international economy, and this applies equally to the domestic economic arena. However, many export processing zones (EPZs) give priority to their profits and neglect the well-being of their workers (International Labor Organization, 2017). The protection of employees is an essential component of the International Labor Law (Cirera & Lakshman, 2017). The International Labor Organization (ILO), within the framework of the ACTRAV, protects workers’ rights throughout the world, doing it mainly because of the excesses of EPZs.

The most pressing problems associated with the use of EPZ include the labor rights of workers. Quite often, EPZs ignore the welfare of their employees in addition to hiring mostly casual workers. These people can not create a union to fight for their rights (Cirera & Lakshman, 2017). Consequently, there is an international system for optimizing anomalies in the global labor market.


Export processing zones are typical for developing countries. There, they import raw materials, produce products, and export goods back to other countries (Cirera & Lakshman, 2017). EPZs have been in business since the beginning of the 20th century. These zones require the environment that provides the absence of any barriers to productive work and contributes to economic development. However, all the benefits of such zones were achieved due to their employees who put many efforts at production enterprises.

International organizations are at the forefront of protecting workers around the world, although EPZs have been evasive (Cirera & Lakshman, 2017). The representatives of the United Nations deal with the political, socio-economic, and environmental aspects of transnational corporations. As Islam and Hossain (2016) note, ACTRAV required a recent and continued growth in EPZs on all continents. The overall international context of the situation relates to the well-being of employees.

Role of the International System

The international system is mandated to check for socio-economic and political discrepancies that could potentially have fundamental implications on human rights. For instance, the International Labor Organization (ILO) coordinates its functions with domestic agencies to ensure that corporations and employers adhere to international labor laws (Cirera & Lakshman, 2017). The organizations authenticate companies that comply with the International System of Units (SI). Thus, the researched issue deserves attention from international agencies and should be appropriately discussed.

Relevant UN Actions

Although the international system ought to check the excesses of export processing zones, the issue has not received adequate attention (International Labor Organization, 2017). The United Nations focuses on major economic crimes and human rights violations, neglecting the critical discrepancies in EPZs. However, Cirera and Lakshman (2017) claim that the Bureau of Workers Activities (ACTRAV) makes concerted efforts to correct the anomalies, through collaboration with the International Labor Office and various workers Unions. It means that some efforts are made, and specific attention is paid to initial problems by the world-famous international organizations.

Also, the UN standards provide for special norms in relation to workers of different social and racial groups. For example, migrant workers have the right to receive appropriate protection from the enterprises in which they work (International Labor Organization, 2017). Also, the UN provides specific rules for employers who hire workers and make certain requirements for their duties. Employees can always complain of any management’s decision and apply it to appropriate authorities to ensure that their issue can be resolved timely. In case of any violations, sanctions can be imposed, and managers can be punished. It means that the activities of the UN are quite essential and relevant.


The transcontinental expansion of EPZs has had both positive and negative consequences. These zones expand with little regard to the plight of their laborers (Cirera & Lakshman, 2017). Although the international system is also involved in this business, EPZs are widespread in developing countries that have weak or no economic policies to deal with the industry (International Labor Organization, 2017). Accordingly, such zones exploit workers through low wages and unsafe working environments. Some EPZs employ illegal means to evade domestic and international taxes, which hurts local and international economies (Cirera & Lakshman, 2017).

The expansion of trade zones implies that there are both winners and losers. The global system works for the benefit of the masses, including people in the labor market and those that play critical roles across the value chain (Cirera & Lakshman, 2017). Those states that are affected most by the violation of labor rights are Kenya, Zimbabwe, India, South Africa, Nigeria, Cambodia, and Brazil. The least affected countries, including the United States and countries in the European Union, have firm economic and labor laws to protect all employees (International Trade Union Confederation, 2017). The issue of workers protection is significant because compliance with international labor laws implies the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Questions a Resolution Must Answer

It is essential for all resolutions to respond to the issue of how exactly workers can get full protection and have the appropriate rights. Also, it is necessary for employees to be aware of which working conditions are acceptable so that enterprises do not exploit people for free. Another issue is the possibility of organizing trade unions, which is an integral component of modern business realities (Islam & Hossain, 2016). All these questions should be covered in resolutions and have detailed explanations.

Suggestions for Further Research

Further studies in the field of EPZs can relate to determining the most optimal ways of development, which would include not only issues of profit but also the labor rights of workers. Research may be relevant to other international organizations’ position regarding the activities of EPZs and potential risks. The relevance of these studies is due to the lack of topic disclosure and the need for effective interventions in these zones’ activities.


Cirera, X., & Lakshman, R. D. (2017). The impact of export processing zones on employment, wages, and labor conditions in developing countries: A systematic review. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 9(3), 344-360. Web.

International Labor Organization. (2017). Web.

International Trade Union Confederation. (2017). Web.

Islam, M. S., & Hossain, M. I. (2016). Social justice in the globalization of production: Labor, gender, and the environment nexus. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

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"Protecting Laborers Amidst the Transnational Expansion." IvyPanda, 10 Oct. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/protecting-laborers-amidst-the-transnational-expansion/.

1. IvyPanda. "Protecting Laborers Amidst the Transnational Expansion." October 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/protecting-laborers-amidst-the-transnational-expansion/.


IvyPanda. "Protecting Laborers Amidst the Transnational Expansion." October 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/protecting-laborers-amidst-the-transnational-expansion/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Protecting Laborers Amidst the Transnational Expansion." October 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/protecting-laborers-amidst-the-transnational-expansion/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Protecting Laborers Amidst the Transnational Expansion'. 10 October.

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