Indian Women and Children Paid Pennies to Sew Clothes in Their Homes

And we thought the factories were bad. According to a new report detailed by the New York Times, there are millions (repeat: millions) of home based garment workers in India, and they are “among the most unprotected in the industry.”

The report, published by researchers from UC Berkeley, found that, ”scores of labels rely not just on factories in India but also on exploited home workers,” 85 percent of whom “exclusively [work] in supply chains for the export of apparel products to the United States and the European Union.”

While the report declined to name the labels employing the labor — the author, Siddhartha Kara, said that “shaming” them was counterproductive due to degrees of supply chain ambiguity — it did detail the myriad abuses the workers are subjected to.

Worst things first, I guess… “The report shines fresh light on… the use of child and forced labor,” the Times said, roughly 76 precent of the workers interviewed cited “some form of duress” as the reason for working out of their house. And the youngest worker interviewed was 10.

Many of these workers are “women and girls from historically oppressed ethnic communities or Muslims who work from home, the majority for long hours and in hazardous conditions, earning as little as 15 cents per hour,” which is an all-too common refrain in these stories.

99 percent of those interviewed were paid under the state-stipulated minimum wage, and “most home workers received between 50 and 90 percent less than they were owed.”

“Due to the lack of transparency and the informal nature of home-based work, which takes place right at the bottom of the fashion supply chain, the worker has virtually no avenue to seek redress for abusive or unfair conditions,” Kara said.

You can read more about it at The New York Times.

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