Fashion and Textiles
The fast fashion industry is a driving force in exploitation and modern slavery. The high demand for cheap clothing with an extremely fast-paced turnover has caused many parts of the supply chain to exploit their workers.
Our current reality..
Uzbekistan produces 85% of the world’s cotton trade. Residents in Uzbekistan are forced to work without pay in cotton fields for 3 months of the year leaving their jobs, homes and families. They work in hazardous conditions, where accidents are frequent and children are often taken out of education to assist in the harvest.
The trafficking of young girls in Bangladesh is a regular occurrence and 30% of them end up across the border in India working in garment factories. There is no border control between India and Bangladesh so sometimes these girls are unaware that they are leaving their home country. They are forced to work over 16 hours a day in horrendous conditions. There have been reports of garment workers forced to work until 2am or 3am and then forced to resume working at 7am the next day.
Factory owners take advantage of garment workers who have to move away from their rural homes to find work in cities. There have been many cases where garment workers have gone without pay for months, with no choice but to keep on working waiting for the day they will be paid what they are owed. This is a direct result of brands pushing down prices again and again, so factory owners are unable to pay their staff for the garments they have made.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Stop buying fast fashion and cheap products – then the demand will decrease. The brands won’t push the prices down, the factories will be able to keep up with demand and pay their workers properly and entire countries will benefit from communities functioning as they should be.
Buy less, buy better quality clothing that lasts, buy second-hand clothing, make your own, wear your clothes at least 30 times before replacing them.
‘Good On You’ app and Fashion Checker website – download this app onto your phone so that you can check out how your brand is doing and send pre-written messages asking them to do better where appropriate, or ask a question. They do respond.
[Source: "Life with the Roof Down" blog]