I was watching this Norwegian series from aptv called ‘Sweatshop- Deadly Fashion’ (with Subtitles). The horrible conditions in which the people in fashion garment stitching industry work are being explored by three fashion Bloggers. The harsh reality of how Cambodian workers work day-night in the factory to make that awesome Blazer you just got from H&M is outrageously cruel! To think that this one factory let the show be aired and there are factories that refused them entry makes me think – will the conditions be worse than this?
This opens up a whole ugly face of the fashion brands and their reality in starving their under-paid over-worked employee/slaves to slow painful death. Hunger, fatigue, depression and despair are common emotions. The fashion Bloggers actually do put in their best to try cope with the one month in Cambodia as workers. They soon crack and have nervous breakdowns. H&M, which has a significant presence in Cambodia, declined to be interviewed for the program. It did, however, release a statement vaunting its position on Cambodia.
You can watch the show in English here.
This is a trailer of the show:
Naive and fashionable they are. The harsh reality of forced labor in the third world countries are shocking the hell out of them. What outrages me is the cash the workers get in return for this labor is not even enough to feed the family. Many of their family members die of starvation. The work hours are insane and its strenuous. To make it worse, its a cycle of stitching. So people who are in front of them get paid only if the person behind finishes theirs. Each person is dependent on each other. The pressure and anguish cracks them.
There are cases of people just dying of exhaustion and heavy work burden in these factories situated in Cambodia, Bangladesh and many other small countries like this. Few years ago, the major factory fire in Bangladesh in a Walmart factory set this topic ablaze in International news. Not much has improved since. People work 11- 15 hours a day 6 days a week, unless they were real busy, then it was 7 days a wk and 16 hours (no choice). No talking, no eating, if they used the bathroom they were yelled at by their lecherous boss. All for $50 US dollars a MONTH. To think that the Blazer they just sewed was more worthy than their entire monthly salary is cruel.
I feel the big brands should take responsibility and take it seriously. The money that they save from outsourcing labor to these countries that claim to have ‘Cheap Labor’ is sometimes borderline slavery. That money has the sweat and blood of poor workers. It is not a surprising fact that even children are forced into this vicious cycle. The seriousness lies in the fact that the next generation is also deprived of proper education and a chance to build a future.
Overall it was a good eye-opening documentary series. Some of the Sweatshop scenes are difficult to watch. This type of first-hand experience puts faces and names to the factory horrors we usually only read about, and gives us a look inside the homes and personal experiences we’re not typically privy to.
I would suggest you have a look at few facts on Sweatshops given at this link by DoSomething.org
You and I can help ease the pressure by becoming conscious consumers as much as our conditions permit. Conscious consumerism means in particular these things:
- Only buying when you absolutely need something and you know you are ‘sanctioned’ by benevolence because you feel it in your heart.
- Being clear about where the goods came from and how they were made – buying ethical and fair trade goods instead.
- Becoming increasingly resourceful with the goods we already have. Producing and repairing as much as we can ourselves. Your local tailor or a little stitching cant hurt.
- Take some time out to reach out to these people and appreciate their efforts.
Hope you guys enjoyed my Post