Sunday, 9 December 2007

Is Hair Trade Fair Trade?

There is a piece today in The Age talking about whether the international hair trade is fair.

Firstly, let me say that I hate getting my hair cut. I do it only because I have to. I have to cut my hair because when it get too long it gets into my eyes. Having hair strands stabbing at surface of your eye is not pleasant.

It surprises me therefore that some people are willing to pay money not to remove hair from their head but to have hair put on them! Most people pay barbers to remove hair. Hair is like rubbish and the barber is like a rubbish collection. A person who wants hair extentions then is like a person who wants to pay money for rubbish. As they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

What troubles me is that The Age is going on about how hair in Australia doesn't actually come from Europe and that most of it comes from Asia! But wait, what is so horrible about that? Hair is hair. Why does it matter where it comes from? The article then goes on about how they are worried that people in Asian countries, especially in India, China, and Russia, are being exploited. Some children as young as 12 give their hair.

This I don't think is a major problem. When I was 12 my parents made me go to the barber to get my hair cut. Most parents would do this because long hair is hard and costly to maintain (e.g. you have to use more shampoo). It is actually more economical to cut your hair when it grow to a certain length. So if children are going to have their hair cut anyway, why not sell it and make some money from it? Why not? This money can be used to buy education and health products for the kids.

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