Up to 80% of garment workers in Bangalore, India, are believed to be migrant workers. Many don’t speak the local language and struggle to find housing, so garment factories fill the gap by offering company accommodations. The only catch: Some residents are treated like prisoners.
According to a new report (pdf) by labor rights NGO India Committee of the Netherlands, conditions inside factory “hostels” can be terrible, involving forced confinement and constant surveillance.
Two of the factories singled out in the region, officially known as Bengaluru, supply large fast-fashion chains H&M and C&A. Other factories in the area produce clothing for Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, and Inditex, the owner of Zara. While all of the companies the India Committee (ICN) contacted, except for Gap, responded with promises to take serious action, it’s yet another example of how little large international brands may know about the workers actually making their products.
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