Female migrant RMG workers still the victims of modern day slavery in India

RMG Times
শনিবার, জানুয়ারি ২৭, ২০১৮
  • শেয়ার করুন

Staff Correspondent: Female migrants employed in India’s garment factories supplying to big international brands like Benetton, C&A, GAP, H&M, Levi’s, M&S and PVH, are subject to conditions of modern slavery. In Bangalore, India’s biggest garment producing hub, young women are recruited with false promises about wages and benefits, they work in garment factories under high-pressure for low wages. Their living conditions in hostels are poor and their freedom of movement is severely restricted.

These are some conclusions from the report Labour Without Liberty – Female Migrant Workers in Bangalore’s Garment Industry. The study found that five out of the eleven ILO indicators for forced labour exist in the Bangalore garment industry: abuse of vulnerability, deception as a result of false promises (wages etc.), restriction of movement in the hostel, intimidation and threats, and abusive working and living conditions. Some of these aspects are also felt to a certain extent by the local workforce, but are more strongly experienced by migrant workers.

The three factories in the research belong to the largest garment manufacturing companies in Bangalore. Together they employ more than 4000 workers in various units in the country. According to export data these are their buyers: Abercrombie & Fitch, Benetton, C&A, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger (both PVH), Columbia Sportswear, Decathlon, Gap, H&M, Levi Strauss, Marks & Spencer. Most of these brands have code of conducts that prohibit forced labour, child labour, and other labour rights violations.

Recruitment agents are known for not informing recruits about their legal entitlements. They promise salaries ranging from about tk. 7000 to tk. 11000 and other benefits like free accommodation and food. But upon arrival in the factories, these promises often appear to be false. Migrants find themselves earning less than they were told, having to pay for accommodation and food. Migrant workers live in hostels with cramped rooms. They are not allowed to leave on weekday evenings. Only at Sundays, they are allowed two to three hours away from the hostel grounds.

Although many workers claim to be eighteen or older look young enough to be fifteen or sixteen.

Many migrant workers reported being shouted at by supervisors in the local language of Bangalore, which they do not speak and they are repeatedly pushed to work faster. This was confirmed by all seven local workers, who observed that supervisors treat migrants badly and insult them using vulgar words. According to them, migrant girls often cry when this happens.
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