DID you know that a young girl of 14 may have been trafficked to make your cotton t-shirt?
We don't know if the clothes we wear have been made by someone who has been trafficked. Throughout the supply chain of a garment workers are physically, emotionally and sexually harmed and abused. We want to prevent this.
The clothes that we buy and wear arrive on shop shelves after a long journey starting at the source, cotton being a main contributor. Cotton is grown and harvested in faraway fields, spun, dyed and woven into fabric in factories, to be sold to consumer markets all over the world.
A little over two years ago we started to campaign on ending a scheme which trafficked young women into the Tamil Nadu region of India. Female workers aged 14 - 23 years are recruited with false promises of a good job and a lump sum payment under the guise of an 'apprenticeship' scheme called SUMANGALI. Once recruited, many find themselves trapped within a factory for up to five years. Two out of three never receive the promised lump-sum.
They are physically, emotionally and sexually abused. They have limited freedom, sleep in a hostel within the factory walls, are guarded by the male factory employees and have limited contact with their families or the outside world. They are forced to work often up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week or more without the compensation they have been promised.
Since then there have been improvements but there is still a long way to go to prevent the harm and abuse these young girls experience for the sake of our fashion desires.