Maquiladoras or maquila are terms often used synonymously to identify a foreign-owned factory in Mexico or Central America. In some contexts, the term maquila is used to refer to the factory and maquiladora to the factory worker. The maquiladora workers are predominately female; approximately 70 percent of this workforce are women, some are as young as 12 years of age. They work in a sweatshop-like setting earning extremely low pay, working long hours and under scandalous conditions.

International export production facilities in Mexico have been in existence since the 1960s; during the 1980s the number of these factories began to grow rapidly. A major driving force, enabling transnational corporations to profit tremendously and encourage outsourcing, was facilitated by the North American Free Trade Agreement ...

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