A flesh-and-blood figure of Barbie’s beau Ken stood in a giant pink box on a Lausanne street on Wednesday to highlight dire working conditions in China.
Passers by were invited to pose for photographs next to the model dressed in a dark jacket worn over a white shirt with a stiff collar.
Charity Solidar Switzerland set up the gimmick to raise awareness about the conditions in factories in China.
Solidar has also launched an online petition called “Fair Toys Now” in which American toy manufacturer Mattel is singled out and implored to “take responsibility for the working conditions in the supply chain”.
Solidar calls for an end to “80-hour work weeks” and the provision of “wages that are sufficient for a decent living”.
“This petition, which has already garnered 3,000 signatures, will be delivered on December 15 to Mattel’s European headquarters in Amsterdam,” Solidar’s spokesman Lionel Frei said from Lausanne.
Last week, Solidar had pulled the same stunt with a flesh-and-blood Barbie in Zurich.
Solidar claims that the doubling of salaries in China would result in a 30-euro toy being sold in Europe increase by just two centimes.
Frei said that “more than half of the toys that arrive under a Christmas tree in Switzerland were made by factory employees working up to 11-hour days”.
— Solidar Suisse (@solidarsuisse) November 18, 2016
Solidar, which referred to an investigation by China Labor Watch, said factory workers can also be exposed to toxic solvents.
The Fair Toys Now campaign will continue in Paris on December 7 with an event organised by ActionAid France.