SMH Article // Oroton, Pumpkin Patch and Lorna Jane shamed for low transparency of supply chains

Since she was 12, Jessica has been spinning cotton in the fabric mills of southern India, mostly to be used in the clothes of Western fashion brands.

Now in her late teens, Jessica is not only struggling with health issues caused by the constant inhalation of cotton fibres, but she's fighting to receive the full lump sum payment her family was promised for years of bonded labour.

Jessica's story is typical of some 300,000 young women in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where they've been lured with promises of money and safe accommodation but instead been abused and exploited.

"I stayed at the hostel where there were 300 other girls," Jessica told a labour rights advocate for a recent report. "There were only 10 bathrooms. Twenty girls were squeezed into one room."

The 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse that killed 1136 garment workers in Bangladesh shone a spotlight on the use of dirt-cheat labor by major brands. In the wake of the collapse, new reports show some companies are making progress in stamping out child labour and exploitation.

Relatives of Mohammed Abdullah, garment worker in Rana Plaza, cry as they as they arrive to collect his body near Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: AP

Relatives of Mohammed Abdullah, garment worker in Rana Plaza, cry as they as they arrive to collect his body near Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: AP