April 24 marks the three year anniversary of one of the worst industrial disasters in the world. In 2013, a garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed killing 1100 people. The factory was one of many in Bangladesh’s large apparel manufacturing industry, producing clothes exclusively for consumption in the west. I went there in January, as a supply chain consultant, I wanted to see for myself the truth about the worst of what can happen in sourcing our materials across a complex – and often exploitative - supply chain.
Only last month, an investigation into a poultry farm in Thailand owned by the company Betagro, one of the largest chicken exporters in the world, discovered 14 Myanmar migrants were being held for labour exploitation. Betagro supplies largescale poultry for pet food and ready-made meals throughout both Asia and the western world.
There are so many sad, bad stories! Everyone we have met with tells that it exists and that some attempts are being made to do something about it. There is scepticism amongst many that it will only be a superficial attempt at change. Corruption is the key dynamic. Human trafficking and forced labour is in the Prawn peeling factories, the fishing boats for the fishmeal for the prawn farms particularly and is widespread.
Baptist World Aid: Our Advocacy Team have recently returned from India; a trip which deepened our understanding of modern day slavery and human trafficking at Baptist World Aid Australia. They saw, first hand, the impact of the incredible work our Christian Partner has been doing in at risk communities and spent time connecting with survivors of trafficking and slavery. These are the stories they brought home with them...
This month I visited Tamil Nadu and found that the word is no longer used. It is easy to change language but have we changed the system? Exactly what does that mean for these young women and the 200,000 others working in the spinning mills and garment factories?
The fashion industry is big business. Most of us are on the lookout for the perfect outfit. However, woven throughout the fashion supply chain there is the exploitation of the most vulnerable. The real fashion victims are those who make our garments. It happens in every step of the supply chain. #makefashiontraffikfree
About 16 young women had been waiting for us to arrive in a small and stiflingly hot room. They were in their late teens and early 20’s. They were all eager to tell their stories of being in the Sumangali Scheme. This Scheme is a form of bonded labour and human trafficking which targets the poorest families of India. #makefashiontraffikfree