Girl, 7, raped at Thai factory supplying clothes for Tesco while mother worked

Exclusive: Woman recounts 2018 attack as landmark lawsuit is brought against retailer on behalf of 130 Burmese former workers

A seven-year-old girl was raped in insecure accommodation at a factory producing clothes for Tesco in Thailand while her mother sewed F&F jeans late in the evening, it has been revealed.

Her mother said she had been working unpaid overtime until 10pm, after which she returned to her room to find her daughter bleeding and in distress, having been raped by a colleague.

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What do you mean, day off?

Workers tell of sweatshop conditions at Thai factory used by Tesco, as supermarket says it knew nothing of claims about VKG

In a factory at the Myanmar border in Thailand, hundreds of Burmese workers made F&F jeans for Tesco. They describe sweatshop conditions, with 99-hour weeks, one day off a month and illegally low pay.

Now Tesco is facing a landmark British lawsuit for alleged negligence, having used the VK Garment (VKG) factory in Mae Sot as a supplier to its Thai business from 2017 until the supermarket sold its operations in Asia in December 2020. The case is being brought by 130 former garment workers at the factory.

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Myanmar model who criticised junta says Canada has granted her asylum

Thaw Nandar Aung, AKA Han Lay, feared being sent home after she was stopped at Thai border last week

A Myanmar fashion model who was denied entry to Thailand and feared arrest by the military government in Yangon if she was forced back home from exile has flown to Canada, which she says has granted her asylum.

Thaw Nandar Aung, also known as Han Lay, left on a flight from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport early on Wednesday, according to Archayon Kraithong, a deputy commissioner of Thailand’s Immigration Bureau. He said he was not authorised to reveal her destination.

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‘Give workers an equal seat’: pressure builds for Levi’s to protect factory employees

Activists say that the company’s own audits have been ineffective and workers receive inadequate safety protections

Workers and activists have been campaigning to push Levi’s, one of the world’s largest clothing brands, to sign on to an international accord for workers’ health and safety in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

On 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which housed five garment clothing factories, collapsed, killing 1,134 people and injuring approximately 2,500, in the deadliest disaster in the garment industry’s history.

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US ban on cotton from forced Uyghur labour comes into force

Fashion industry told to avoid cotton from Xinjiang, which accounts for 84% of China’s exports of the product

The fashion industry has been told it must wean itself off cotton from China’s Xinjiang region, as a new law comes into force giving US border authorities greater powers to block or seize goods linked to forced labour in China.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which comes into force today, assumes that any product partly or wholly made in Xinjiang, north-west China, is linked to the region’s labour camps. Since 2017, the Chinese authorities have detained as many as one million Uyghurs and subjected them to forced labour.

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Pakistani garment workers left destitute and starving after Missguided collapse

Fashion retailer’s suppliers in Pakistan have sacked hundreds without pay, as invoices for completed orders remain unpaid

Hundreds of garment workers in Pakistan making clothing for collapsed fast fashion brand Missguided say they have been left destitute and starving after not receiving salaries for more than four months.

The workers, who typically earn between £100 and £160 a month, say that despite not being paid they have continued working even as the Manchester-based retailer went into administration, with suppliers claiming the company owes them millions of pounds for clothing already completed and shipped.

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Murder, rape and abuse in Asia’s factories: the true price of fast fashion

Jeyasre Kathiravel’s death exposed the epidemic of violence facing workers making clothes for the UK high street. Will a groundbreaking agreement improve their lot?

  • Photographs by Sivaram V

Jeyasre Kathiravel had always dreamed of a life beyond the garment factories of Dindigul, a remote corner of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Despite the meagre wages she was earning – about £80 a month – Kathiravel knew she was lucky to have a job at Natchi Apparels, a local factory making clothes for H&M and other international brands.

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Xinjiang cotton found in Adidas, Puma and Hugo Boss tops, researchers say

Traces in shirts and T-shirts appear to contradict German firms’ promises to revise supply chains

Researchers say they have found traces of Xinjiang cotton in shirts and T-shirts made by Adidas, Puma and Hugo Boss, appearing to contradict the German clothing companies’ promises to revise their supply chains after allegations of widespread forced labour in the Chinese region.

Recent reports have suggested more than half a million people from minority ethnic groups such as the Uyghurs have been coerced into picking cotton in Xinjiang, which provides more than 80% of China’s and a fifth of the global production of cotton.

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Indian supplier to UK fashion brands agrees to pay £3m in unpaid wages

Shahi Exports, which makes clothes for the UK high street, has agreed to pay staff minimum wage and arrears

India’s largest garment company has paid out an estimated £3m in unpaid wages to tens of thousands of workers, after two years of refusing to pay the legal minimum wage.

Last month Shahi Exports, which supplies dozens of international brands, agreed to pay nine months of back pay to about 80,000 workers, with further payments expected in the coming months that will increase the total paid back to workers to £7m.

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‘Worst fashion wage theft’: workers go hungry as Indian suppliers to top UK brands refuse to pay minimum wage

Shortfall of 16p a day leaves children living on just rice as suppliers to Nike, Zara and H&M in Karnataka underpay by estimated £41m

Garment workers making clothes for international brands in Karnataka, a major clothing production hub in India, say their children are going hungry as factories refuse to pay the legal minimum wage in what is claimed to be the biggest wage theft to ever hit the fashion industry.

More than 400,000 garment workers in Karnataka have not been paid the state’s legal minimum wage since April 2020, according to an international labour rights organisation that monitors working conditions in factories.

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New Chanel chief could signal end of ‘colonialist approach’ to fashion

Leena Nair joins brand from Unilever where she was first Asian, first female and youngest HR chief

The announcement of Chanel’s new chief executive this week marks a departure for the French luxury brand, one that is being praised as a landmark for diversity within the industry.

Leena Nair makes moves from being the global head of human resources at the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever, where she had worked for 30 years, to taking the reins at the 112-year-old fashion house founded by Coco Chanel.

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‘Wage theft’ in Primark, Nike and H&M supply chain – report

No laws were broken but brands failed to ensure workers were paid properly during the pandemic, says Clean Clothes Campaign

Campaigners claim to have found evidence of “wage theft” in the supply chains of Primark, Nike and H&M in a report that outlines the devastating consequences of the pandemic on garment workers in Indonesia, Cambodia and Bangladesh.

Research by the Clean Clothes Campaign found that, while none of the brands had broken any laws, they had failed to ensure that their workers were properly paid throughout the pandemic.

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Worker at H&M supply factory was killed after months of harassment, claims family

Fashion brand to investigate the death of 20-year-old Jeyasre Kathiravel, reportedly killed by supervisor at Natchi Apparels

The family of a young garment worker at an H&M supplier factory in Tamil Nadu who was allegedly murdered by her supervisor said she had suffered months of sexual harassment and intimidation on the factory floor in the months before her death, but felt powerless to prevent the abuse from continuing.

H&M said it is launching an independent investigation into the killing of Jeyasre Kathiravel, a 20-year-old Dalit garment worker at an H&M supplier Natchi Apparels in Kaithian Kottai, Tamil Nadu, who was found dead on 5 January in farmland near her home.

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‘I thought about killing my children’: the desperate Bangladesh garment workers fighting for pay

Workers face destitution after the collapse of fashion retailers – and despite beatings and police crackdowns vow they will protest until they are paid

It was 4.30am when the police charged the hundreds of garment workers sleeping under makeshift shelters and in sleeping bags on the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh. As blows rained down, the workers fled.

By morning the streets had been cleared of the non-violent protest that more than 700 garment workers had been peacefully staging outside the Dhaka Press Club calling for their unpaid wages as they faced mounting destitution and hunger.

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World’s garment workers face ruin as fashion brands refuse to pay $16bn

Analysis of trade figures reveals huge power imbalance as suppliers and workers in poorest parts of the world bear cost of Covid downturn

Powerful US and European fashion companies have refused to pay overseas suppliers for more than $16bn (£12.3bn) of goods since the outbreak of Covid-19, with devastating implications for garment workers across the world, according to analysis of newly released import data.

Two US-based groups, the Center for Global Workers’ Rights (CGWR) and the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), used previously unpublished import databases to calculate that garment factories and suppliers from across the world lost at least $16.2bn in revenue between April and June this year as brands cancelled orders or refused to pay for clothing orders they had placed before the coronavirus outbreak.

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