We are all aware of the reality behind fast fashion. Sweat shops, under payment and horrid conditions but were we aware of the impact tight deadlines have on the workers from a sexual and physical abuse stand point?
Companies such as H&M, Gap and others create such fast turn around for collection and stock that the pressure for the workers is immense. The stressful situations and pressure on managers often end in physical and sexual abuse as a form of punishment. In an article on the Business of Fashion it says that over 550 reports of sexual and physical abuse have been reported from the suppliers of the two high street stores. Remember thats only the times its been reported, id hate to think how many times went unreported out of ear of job termination.
“[My] batch supervisor came up behind me as I was working on the sewing machine, yelling, ‘You are not meeting your target production.’ He pulled me out of the chair and I fell on the floor. He hit me, including on my breasts. He pulled me up and then pushed me to the floor again [and] kicked me.”
“When girls scold machine operators for touching them or grabbing them, they take revenge. Sometimes they give them machines that don’t function properly. Then they don’t come and repair it for a long time. After that, supervisors scold us for not meeting the target.”
For us in the western world it is easy to say “well why don’t they quit” but this is just not an option for these people. Countries such as India where this happens are so saturated with sweat shops they are often the only option of job and although pay is awful often pay a better and more steady wage than any alternative.
Think of this next time you are at work complaining or you mess up. Be thankful all you get is a stern look or less.