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Although the donor to a charity probably doesn’t know that somewhere down the line, someone is making money from his charitable act, secondhand clothing is impoverishing poor communities.

“European and American families dropping their no-longer-fashionable garments into the collecting bins of the charities concerned need to think again,” Mr. Kearney said. “Their ‘feel-good’ factor through donation to charity would surely plummet if they realized that they are exporting poverty to Africa.”