Leading fashion brands, including Barbour and PVH (Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger owner), have pledged over $400,000 to compensate garment workers following revelations of exploitative labor practices, including forced labor, at five factories in Mauritius.
Big brands implicated in forced labor
Transparentem, a U.S.-based workers’ rights organization, conducted an investigation into conditions at five factories in Mauritius. The report, ‘”I Came Here with So Many Dreams”: Labor Rights Abuses & the Need for Change in Mauritius’, exposes multiple signs of forced labor, including migrant workers paying illegal recruitment fees, facing deception, intimidation, and living in unsanitary conditions without access to clean drinking water.
One worker shared with Transparentem, “If I had any idea or any understanding of any of this. I would never work at this company.”
The five factories implicated in the report supply popular fashion brands, including Boden, Asos, and the Foschini Group (Whistles, Hobbs owner). Transparentem reached out to 18 buyer brands supplied by these factories. After learning of their supplier factory’s working conditions, PVH and Barbour, immediately commissioned their own audits.