Victoria’s Dirty Secret

Gruesome facts about a factory subcontracted by Victoria’s Secret in Jordan are exposed in a recent report by the National Labor Committee.

The factory, known as D.K. Garments, employs 150 workers–135 from Bangladesh and 15 from Sri Lanka–yet none of them have been provided the necessary permits to be in Jordan, which makes it impossible for them to leave the industrial area in which the factory is located without fear of being apprehended by police.

These workers do 14- to 15-hour days, seven days a week, with five hours or more of mandatory overtime, and only a day off every three or four months. During the workday, they are exposed to verbal and often, even physical abuse. The workers who fall behind on their production goals, or who make errors, are slapped or beaten. It isn’t hard to mess up: workers are allowed just 3.3 minutes to sew each $14 Victoria’s Secret women’s bikini, for which they are paid four cents. To read more about Victoria’s labor secret, access the National Labor Committee’s report on nlcnet.org.

This report comes to me via Jonathan Tashini, executive director of the Labor Research Association and blogger at the Huffington Post, who comments on the situation at length:

The U.S.-Jordan so-called “free trade” agreement was held up as the model deal. It was approved by a voice vote in the Senate in 2001–with virtually no Democratic opposition…. The problem is that these deals, as I’ve pointed out before, are primarily about protecting the rights of capital. You can never hope to enforce labor rights (or for that matter environmental protections) under a regime that is focused on profit first, and community second. It will not happen. And all the statements to the contrary are just rubbish. Why we would pretend that labor rights can be enforced as an after-thought, as a secondary issue, in countries around the world–when we can’t even enforce basic labor rights here (such as safety and health regulations) because they are subject to politics and the free reign of the so-called “free market”–exposes the true fallacy of so-called “free trade.” Read more from Victoria’s Secret, Slave Labor And So-Called “Free Trade”…

If free trade makes so many people so unfree, is it really free trade at all?

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2 responses to “Victoria’s Dirty Secret

  1. Dear Mr Bowe

    I am a journalist with the Belgian magazine Vacature. For our Christmas issue we are working on a cover story about modern day slavery. I would like to include an interview with you, but Ihaven’t been able to get in touch with you.
    Could you please let me know what the best way is to reach you?

    Thank you,
    Evy.

  2. I am reading your book, exceptional. I’m also going to link to your blog and hope you blog more often on the latest global labor abuses.

    Global labor arbitrage is a tsunami happening and solutions are pretty much nowhere or even worse some of the policy positions are presented as somehow humane will in fact make the situation much worse.

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