Used clothing is imported into under-developed countries. I have seen this is Africa, Guatemala and many other countries.
Bundles of used clothing being unloaded from large cargo ship in Miragoane, Haiti.
Miragoane, Haiti - Ayiti - Wednesday, November 18, 2009 Travel Gear
This truck came to the port, loaded up with bundles of used clothing, and will truck them to other cities in Haiti.
These girls are sitting in the main square of Miragoane. I conjecture that people come from neighboring cities to buy used clothing wholesale. There is an advantage to buying here in Miragoane; they are able to select the clothes they believe are sellable. While if they purchased a complete bundle of clothing, they would be working on a different level of clothing distribution.
This business is fascinating, because somewhere, somehow, in the USA there are people donating clothing. Say the Salvation Army, the Church, some organization collects used clothing. Slowly it moves it way towards a country like Haiti. Along the line the clothes are sorted, the worn out clothing are discarded, then made into bails. I would guess these bundles were assembled in Miami, and then shipped to Haiti in a large container ship.
Somewhere along the line it stopped being free, this is a business.
My friend Mike in Ghana asked me to help him get clothes from the USA. More or less go straight to the donators, bypassing all the intermediaries. I just could not get my mind around the moral issue, this is a business, but thrives on free donations. I suspect the person donating the clothes believes the end user is not paying.
Now to be just, reasonable, and understanding, this distribution system allows cheap clothing to enter Haiti in a sustainable manner. Is it free for people? No, however, it may be as cheap as it gets.
Distributing free clothing is a questionable practice; it makes beggars out of good folk. On the other hand, somewhere along the line the morals has some detours, I am sure.
I have heard about this practice. It is most likely one of their countrymen who is turning these donations into a business. That person probably justifies it as "putting food on their table," but is invariably taking it off of someone else's. There is a way to stop it however. Due to this I have recently only donated to charities that I know directly distribute to the people recieving the benefits. The next step is education, this is a harder issue, because in many countries (the US included) the government doesn't want the people to know.