Following a slew of deadly factory accidents in Bangladesh–one of which took over 1,000 lives, most apparel brands seem to at least be reconsidering the environment in which their goods are being produced.
Posing as a buyer, correspondent Holly Williams secretly filmed inside Monde Apparels factory in Dhaka, where she saw items being produced for Wrangler, Asics and Walmart firsthand. Her findings were eye-opening to say the least. While the unethical and unsafe working conditions she discovered in Dhaka were in line with what we’ve been reading about, seeing and hearing them made it more real.
Williams found that nearly each of the 13 required fire extinguishers was missing and at least one emergency exit door was completely blocked by boxes. After being assured by the factory’s owner that he did not employ anyone under 18, a woman admitted that her daughter, who also worked there, was only 12 and had produced a fake birth certificate in order to work. The woman also said she was only paid 11 days worth of wages for working 20 days and would get yelled at if she complained.
Conditions have improved in one area, though–”Nowadays, when we make a mistake, at least the supervisors don’t beat us like they used to,” she said. Oof.
Asics told CBS that they do not to business with Monde and would look into whether the product found was counterfeit; Wrangler said the factory had been approved in March by an independent labor group, but has since fired them after sending its own inspector; Walmart said it would investigate and fire the factory if unauthorized production or child labor are found.
The whole scenario exemplifies common outsourcing problems–factories subcontracting work to less safe factories unbeknownst to the brands, and factories hiding poor conditions from inspectors. It’s possible that conditions at Monde are usually worse than what Williams was even allowed to see.
Watch the report below.