Home / Knowledge / News / Textiles / Need to end slavery in Indian garment and textile sector
Need to end slavery in Indian garment and textile sector
12
Jun '12

Over a dozen major western clothing retailers, including high-street stores Marks and Spencer, Mothercare and the supermarket Tesco, are sellingclothing made by girls in slavery in southern India, according to research launched by Anti-Slavery International.

‘Slavery on the high street’ finds five Indian clothing manufacturing companies supplying leading European and US brands, using the forced labour of young women and girls made to live in prison-like conditions in cotton spinning mills and factories around Tirupur, western Tamil Nadu. 

The research is based on interviews with over 200 former workers of spinning mills and factories of five Indian clothing manufacturers: SP Apparel, Bannari Amman, SCM, Eastman and Prem Group. Export data from two Indian ports confirms dozens of major western brands purchasing garments from these companies.

The girls and young women interviewed as part of the research describe being forced to work 12-16 hours a day in prison-like conditions, many for well below the minimum wage, in poor conditions of health and safety, confined to the factory or mill even on rest days. The workers are rarely allowed visitors and even their calls home are monitored.

One young woman is known to have died trying to escape and another after not being given permission to leave a factory after falling ill. Many workers become ill from working with the cotton but are not given access to appropriate medical treatment.

Typically, workers are only allowed to leave the factory for a few days holiday each year. The workers feel compelled to return despite the terrible conditions because they believe they will receive a lump sum payment at the end of their three year contract. However, this ‘bonus’, which is typically equivalent to around a year’s pay, is almost never paid, either because the worker is unable to finish their contract because of ill health or because the management find a spurious reason to cancel their contract. 

The Indian companies investigated recruit unmarried girls and women from poor ‘lower’ caste families to be spinners in their mills or workers in their factories. Around 60 per cent have a Dalit (“untouchable”) background. These companies are exploiting local marriage practices by offering a lump sum that could be used to pay for the marriage dowry of the worker.

The research shows that subcontracting, a common, near universal business practice, combined with poverty, discrimination, insufficient and in some cases corrupt law enforcement facilitates slavery in garment supply chains. The international brands implicated are proving disinterested in identifying slavery practices or ensuring that subcontracted suppliers are compliant with companies’ stated codes of conduct and international minimum labour standards.

Must ReadView All

Courtesy: American Apparel

Apparel/Garments | On 25th Feb 2017

Gildan to make some American Apparel products outside US

Gildan Activewear, which recently acquired US fashion brand American...

Courtesy: Kolon Sport

Apparel/Garments | On 25th Feb 2017

Kolon Sport to set up JV with ANTA for Chinese market

Kolon Sport, an outdoor gear and clothing brand of Korea based Kolon...

Designer Karishma Jumani with Niraj Jawanjal, founder and director of IIFW. Courtesy: IIFW

Textiles | On 25th Feb 2017

IIFW to bring together premium lingerie brands

India Intimate fashion Week (IIFW), dedicated to showcasing the...

Interviews View All

Sunil Rathore
Lacoste India

‘New vendor is welcome if he offers cost, quality and timely delivery’

Md Hanifur Rahman
Aman Group

The level of understanding the job role and organisational requirements...

Giovanni Pizzamiglio, Paolo Crespi & Riccardo Robustelli
Epson, For.Tex & F.lli Robustelli

‘The percentage share of printing in the global textile market is pretty...

Mark Paterson
Technical Absorbents Ltd

Mark Paterson, R&D manager of Technical Absorbents Ltd talks about Super...

Johan Berlin
InvestKonsult Sweden AB

Investkonsult Sweden AB has been buying and selling second-hand textile...

Larry L Kinn
Suominen Corporation

Larry L Kinn, Senior Vice President - Operations Americas of Suominen...

Wendell Rodricks
Wendell Rodricks

"We should not compare India and the West. There are things we do that...

Yash P. Kotak
Bombay Hemp Company

One of the directors of Bombay Hemp Company, Yash P. Kotak, speaks to...

Igor Chapurin
Chapurin

"Now we can see the Russian trend in international fashion. And Russian...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH
February 2017

February 2017

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

SUBSCRIBE


Browse Our Archives

GO


eNEWS
Insights
Subscribe today and get the latest News update in your mail box.
Advanced Search