High-quality fashion brands rely on forced laborers to produce their products that are then sold to consumers in the West, a new research claims.
A non-profit organization named KnowTheChain ranks companies based on the extent to which they have reformed their supply chains so that products are not made by exploited labor.
It found that luxury brands such as Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Fendi and Christian Dior used workers who were vulnerable to exploitation in textile factories, according to Fast Company.
Popular names in clothing simply provide insufficient information about their supply chains because they often use an opaque web of factories and recruitment agencies whose practices are considered exploitative, says KnowTheChain.
Employees in poor countries often have to pay thousands of dollars in recruitment costs that are deducted from their salaries.
As long as the compensation is not paid, the factory can keep the employees' passports or other important documents.
If employees do not earn enough money to repay the compensation, they are essentially slaves.
Brands simply do not provide sufficient information about their supply chains because they often use an opaque web of factories and recruitment agencies whose practices are considered exploitative, according to a non-profit organization. A bag factory in Shenzhen, China can be seen above
KnowTheChain studied one audit showing that a clothing company in Taiwan charged migrant workers $ 7,000 for a job at a fabric factory.
Another factory in Taiwan reported that 82 percent of employees had confiscated their passports.
Brand names such as Celine and Rimowa normally use European employees to produce their products, but these employees also have to deal with tough conditions, including "amazingly low wages & # 39; and limited free time in places like Bulgaria, Macedonia, Moldavia, Romania and Turkey.
Other luxury brands, including Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Kering – the owner of Gucci, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent – have, according to KnowTheChain, improved their ability to maintain an ethical supply chain.
The companies that have done most to ensure that factory workers are treated fairly according to Western labor standards are athletic clothing brands such as Adidas, Lululemon and Gap.
KnowTheChain notes that Adidas trains its suppliers for ethical work in factories in Vietnam, Indonesia, China and Taiwan.
European luxury brands often used exploited workers, discovered KnowTheChain. The above images show the Prada and Fendi stores
Lululemon has made great efforts to ensure that passports are returned to employees in its factories.
Both Adidas and Lululemon no longer use recruitment agencies from supply chains.
Instead, factories that work with these companies must hire employees directly.
Employees in these factories can also submit complaints through a company shotline with which they can bypass the factory.
Other clothing brands such as Nike and Puma performed above average, though not at the same level as Adidas and Lululemon.
Other brand names that received good figures from KnowTheChain are Gap (including Old Navy and Banana Republic), Primark and H & M.
Both Primark and H & M use compulsory & modern slavery training in their factories.
Walmart did slightly below average, but still better than many luxury brands.
KnowTheChain assesses companies for the transparency of their supply chain, as some brands can use factories that outsource part of their work to other factories.
Companies are encouraged by KnowTheChain to hire employees directly, rather than through recruitment agencies.
Brands need to know how their products are made in the supply chain. Otherwise, they will receive a lower score.