Slavery in the textile industry. Do you know who manufactured the clothes you are wearing?

 Sadly, it may be that behind a
garment you get in the store of your favorite mall, labor abuses and even child exploitation have been committed.

How can it be that reputable brands can allow this?

The truth is that it is a topic quite unknown to the vast majority of consumers.

These workers are victims of modern-day slavery.

Generally, it says: made in Bangladesh, India, Vietnam or Cambodia.

Another factor that catches our attention is the price: jeans for 8 euros, T-shirts for 3 euros or a coat for 30 euros.

Although we like to pay less for our clothes, how is it possible that they are worth so little?

The price and the origin should already put us on alert about working conditions.

As a well-known example we can cite the tragic accident that occurred on April 24, 2013 in
Bangladesh, where an 8-storey building known as the Rana Plaza collapsed.

The building was in poor condition and had been reported by employees, but in a matter of seconds it collapsed.

The consequences were tragic, as 1,130 people lost their lives and more than 2,000 were injured. The vast majority were women who worked in different textile workshops and supplied more than thirty international and well-known brands.

The investigation uncovered that the building was constructed with substandard materials and the factory was knowingly allowed to remain active.

About 5 months earlier, the Tazreen Fashions factory, also in Bangladesh, collapsed, killing
110 people.

These tragedies expose one of the major problems behind the fashion industry.

The reality is that in order to offer competitive prices to the consumer and obtain high profits, the big brands cut costs in the manufacture of the product.

In that country there are more than 5,000 textile factories where workers work long hours, in unsafe places and with some of the lowest wages in the world.

These workers are victims of modern slavery.

To what extent are these workers abused?

In many cases, they work more than 14 hours a day, sometimes without a break or rest. They have no access to an infirmary in case of fainting, which is very frequent.

They work in an environment where they inhale tissue particles, toxic substances, without ventilation, in
unsafe buildings and where they reach extreme temperatures.

Another practice that is supposedly prohibited, although it is still being done, is to hire minors. They work under the same abusive conditions as adults.

For example, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, there are more than a thousand textile workshops that use more than 100,000 minors as labor.

Most of them are girls who are
recruited by the different factories to work for 120 euros for 3 years.
Modern slavery is a global problem.
Sadly, this reality is ignored worldwide, as large firms try to hide it.

Unfortunately, this is not going to end immediately, as in many countries the textile industry is the main source of income, and until governments pass laws to regulate working conditions, millions of people will continue to suffer from slave labor.

What can you do to avoid slavery in the textile industry?

We can opt for the antithesis of Fast Fashion, i.e. support Slow fashion, also known as slow or sustainable fashion. It is a production model that is fundamental for the future and beneficial for everyone, since it gives priority to quality and ecology instead of quantity.

The best alternative is sustainable fashion, which consists of manufacturing quality garments while respecting the environment and the workers.

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