Posted by: Staff | 05.18.2010

Slavery in the Music Industry


There are currently over 27 million slaves suffering in the world today. The CIA estimates, “14,500 to 17,500 victims are trafficked into the Unites States every year,” and women and children make up 80% of the slave population. They work for various industries and companies such as guitar manufacturing. In the guitar industry today, thousands are spending their days forced into working long hours, in poor conditions, for little pay. But how is this fair?

I wasn’t aware of the slavery issue that is still occurring until our English class read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs and began to research modern day slavery. I learned how much slavery still exists. People are often forced into it usually by poverty or a lack of protection from local governments. Slaves are often treated harshly, owned and controlled by their “employer” and rarely have any freedom at all. The guitar industry demonstrates how slavery continues throughout the US and throughout the world.

Some guitar companies, such as Cort-tek, are guilty of using forced labor. Cork-tek is a guitar company that makes parts for other main guitar companies such as Fender, Gibson, and Ibanez. Those brands sell their products to Guitar Center, and Guitar Center sells those products to the world. However, their workers slave for hours at a time building guitars and get paid a very low amount. Guitars are expensive, and the income Cort-tek earns is huge. But, the amount going to the workers is minimum.

What can you do to help this catastrophe from spreading? Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Educate others about current slavery, write letters to companies using slave labor informing them you’re against it, and do anything you can to stop slavery!

Email Carly or Diego to add your picture to this campaign

If you want to help, come to Diego or me to take a picture with a Fender guitar saying “Shame on Fender,” and we’ll send off all the pictures we get to the photo campaign.

To read more about the Cort guitar workers and see pictures of the workers themselves, go to

For more general information go to http:/



  1. For the sake of redundancy, I just want to remind everyone that ALL of the students’ PSAs and letters can be viewed at

    -Mr. Neal

  2. […] painted “Shame on Fender” on his own guitar; his research partner, Carly Furr ’10, wrote an article about the issue for Beaver’s online newspaper. The two invited friends to have their photos taken […]

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