Human Rights: Clothing

Southeast Asia is where most clothing in produced.  If you wear any clothes from Cambodia or Bangladesh, there's a good chance it was made in horrible working conditions.

By slaves. Or, something close to it.

VF Corporation is an American clothing supplier and the parent company of North Face, Lee, Wrangler and Timberland.  VF Corporation uses factories in Bangladesh.  In 2013, a factory collapse, killing some 1100 workers and revealing the squalid conditions in those factories.

But VF corporation isn't the only company using cheap labor in southeast Asia.  Gap, Adidas, Disney, Nike, H & M and most other large retailers use sweatshop labor in southeast Asia.

Nike sweatshop in Bangladesh. 
According to the U.S. Department of labor, a "sweatshop" is a factory that violates at least two labor laws.  Sweatshops are overcrowded and workers are forced to work long hours with very little pay.

Sweatshops are found all over the world.  Even garments that say "Made in the U.S.A." are not free from sweatshop abuses: factories in the U.S. held territories of the Mariana Islands do not have to follow U.S. labor laws but can still carry the "Made in the U.S.A." label.  Over 98% of all clothes sold in the United States is imported.

The worst sweatshops are found in southeast Asia.


  • Garment workers in Bangladesh are the lowest paid in the world
  • Children working in Bangladesh routinely work 7 days a week with no holidays or paid leave
  • Pregnant women are fired
  • Sweatshops are dangerous. Factory collapses and fires are common.
  • Bathroom breaks are prohibited during the work hours, only during a brief lunch break
  • Workers are often subjected to quotas. If a worker does not meet the quota, they are not paid for the work that they have already completed
  • Some sweatshops force people to work 72 hours straight
  • Workers in sweatshops are often fined for various "offenses:" arriving late, not working fast enough, taking too long in the toilet, forgetting to turn off the lights.  Fines can amount to days or weeks of pay
  • Workers are often fired for complaining about conditions


The slave labor behind your favorite clothing brands: Gap, H&M and more exposed
My life as a sweatshop worker: Undercover reporter tells of crushing hours and terrible pay in Bangladeshi clothes factory where she worked for girl boss aged just NINE
Sweatshops still make your clothes
John Oliver Rips Gap, Walmart, H&M Clothing Over Sweatshop Labor, Unsafe Working Conditions (Video)