To get ahead in online games like the popular World of Warcraft, sometimes people will turn to the black market and purchase in-game gold from other gamers using real world dollars. It sounds relatively harmless, except the person you’re buying it from could be a prisoner in a Chinese labor camp under threat of cruel physical punishment.
“If I couldn’t complete my work quota, they would punish me physically. They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things,” one former prisoner told The Guardian in an interview.
So should ethically conscious gamers try to “buy American” when it comes to purchasing Warcraft gold? That would be pretty hard to track and enforce. Maybe people just shouldn’t cheat and then there wouldn’t be a market for this slave labor.
China used prisoners in lucrative internet gaming work [The Guardian]