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Large-scale forced (child) labour in India’s spinning mills
New research by the India Committee of Netherlands (ICN) shows that various forms of modern slavery, including child slavery, are found in more than 90% of the spinning mills in South India. These spinning mills produce yarn for India, Bangladeshi and Chinese garment factories that produce for the Western market.
The report Fabric of Slavery exposes the scale on which young girls and women are enslaved by employers who withhold their wages or lock them up in company-controlled hostels. They work long hours, face sexual harassment and do not even earn the minimum wage. Gerard Oonk, director of ICN: “We have raised the issue for five years now, but even to us the scale of this problem came as a shock.”
Wages of 1.3 euros per day for 68 hours of work per week, without a contract, in an unhealthy environment, without basic rights such as sickness or union membership, in a regime of deprivation of liberty … That is still the murky labour scenario that tens of thousands of girls and teenagers face daily, many of them being only 15 years old, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, to the southeast of the Asian colossus. All these young women, who represent 60% of the more than 400,000 workers in the sector, are employed in conditions that border on slavery by textile megafactories that supply their products to the big international fashion firms, among them the Spanish Zara and Bershka (Inditex ), El Corte Inglés, Cortefiel and Carrefour Spain.
Big garment brands and retailers have their products made under exploitative and unhealthy conditions by girls in Tamil Nadu, South India. The girls, mostly younger than 18 and from a Dalit (‘outcaste’) background are employed under the Sumangali Scheme. Continue reading “SOMO Captured by cotton”