Charity targets spinning mills in India, Bangladesh to end slavery in fashion industry


NED DELHI: One of the most effective ways to curb forced labour in the garment industry is to target cotton spinning mills, where workers can provide valuable information about the source of material in the fashion supply chain, an anti-slavery charity said on Friday.

The apparel industry has come under pressure to improve factory conditions and workers’ rights, particularly after the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex in Bangladesh more than three years ago, when 1,136 garment workers were killed.

Following the tragedy, numerous initiatives were launched by global brands and charities to promote openness and safeguard employees, from ensuring the safety of buildings to providing better pay and working hours.

But while most projects focused on farmers growing cotton in the fields or factory workers stitching clothes, few work with the spinning mills in the middle of the supply chain.

Run by the California-based charity As You Sow, the Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN) on 1 September launched a project focusing on mills in India and Bangladesh that altogether employ hundreds of thousands of workers.

“Located in the middle of the supply chain, spinning mills are uniquely positioned to identify cotton produced with forced labour and prevent it from entering corporate supply chains,” Patricia Jurewicz, RSN’s director, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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