If shirts could only speak…if we would only listen
8th July, 2004
She is our sister. That garment holds the story of her life. If we ignore it, if we do not care to understand, she suffers. And so do we.
Read Anita Roddick's report from the sweatshops of Bangladesh and what she is asking the corporations to do. If you're shocked and inspired then find out what you can do...
I’ve just returned from Bangladesh, and I’m angry. Not, of course, with the Bangladeshi people. They were beautiful, incredibly warm and open, invited me into their humble homes, and sat with me into the night in small, windowless, poorly lit union offices, telling me stories of their lives as garment workers.
I am angry because of what is happening to these workers, who sew the clothes we wear. There are 2 million garment workers in Bangladesh, and 85 per cent of them are young women of between 16 and 25 years of age. Each year they sew £1.6 billion worth of clothing for export to Europe and another $2 billion worth for the US.
The corporations for whom these clothes are made claim they have codes of conduct that guarantee the human and labour rights of anyone employed in their manufacture, anywhere in the world. They ask us to trust them. They say that they are scrupulous about monitoring their...
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