"Slave-like" conditions at Zara supplier

published 18-12-2013 08:47, last modified 18-12-2013 08:47
The Brazilian Ministry of Labour estimates that 300,000 people work in slave-like conditions nationwide. The textile industry is among the top three industries with the highest incidence of slave-like labor, alongside agribusiness and construction.

Most migrant workers in the garment industry come from other South American nations, particularly in the southeast region, notably Bolivia. Many of these migrants enter Brazil illegally with the help of traffickers. Migrants often end up in illegal or semi-legal workshops , living and sleeping in or close to their workplace.  Each year reports come to light of the plight of these migrants.

"It is Zara's responsibility to know who is making their clothes".

In 2011  AHA, the contractor reportedly responsible for 90% of Zara's Brazilian production was found to have subcontracted work to a factory employing migrant workers from Bolivia and Peru in sweatshop conditions in Sao Paulo to make garments for the Spanish company. Workers were found to be working 16 to 19 hours day with little time off and in debt to their traffickers. Fourteen of the workers were Bolivians and one was from Peru. One was 14 years old.

Inditex said in a statement that it could not be held responsible for "unauthorised outsourcing" but would compensate the workers because AHA had violated Inditex's code of conduct.  At the time CCC stated that: "It is Zara's responsibility to know who is making their clothes".  "According to the code of conduct that they have signed up to, they are responsible for everyone involved in the supply chain. It is up to them to do the monitoring."

In the run up to Brazil's hosting the World Cup in 2014 and Olympics in 2016, the authorities have begun taking action against the workshop owners rather than previous action which focused on deportation of the migrants themselves.