Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Update—Abuse of Young Women at Wal-Mart Supplier in Jordan - Charlie Kernaghan

RE:        Update—Abuse of Young Women at Wal-Mart Supplier in Jordan
Dear Friends,
Thank you to the over 1200 people who have signed the joint letter to Wal-Mart demanding an end to the abuse of young women guest workers at the Classic Fashion Factory in Jordan. Please reach out to your contacts to keep the signatures coming. (Due to the explicit nature of the sexual abuse of young women at Classic, many people in our mailing list did not see our latest email which was caught in their spam.)
The good news is that the two worst alleged sexual abusers at Classic, Mr. Anil Santha and Mr. Priyantha, have not been seen at the factory in days. Hopefully, the next step for them will be very lengthy prison sentences. Classic’s owner, Mr. Sanal Kumar, is being uncharacteristically nice with the workers, telling them that he will take care of all their problems and end the abuse, only if they stop sending testimonies to the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights. The workers do not believe Sanal for a minute, but the tide is definitely turning, and we are certain that there will be many positive improvements at the factory, foremost among them putting an end once and for all of the sexual abuse of young women at Classic. 

On the downside, Sanal is leading a witch hunt to find out who our sources are in the factory. A delegation of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights and the United Steelworkers Union, joined by worker rights advocates and translators from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, are travelling to Jordan today. We intend to have a very sharp discussion with Classic owner, Sanal Kumar. We are planning for a large meeting with Classic’s workers. We will distribute flyers in Sinhalese and Bengali, along with a hotline number, so workers can immediately report sexual abuse and other serious worker rights violations.

We will also meet with the U.S. Embassy in Amman, with the Jordanian Ministry of Labour, and with the Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi Embassies, who have done next to nothing to help their people.
Wal-Mart, Hanes and the other labels at Classic have been stone silent.

Today we are also releasing a new report on the Rich Pine Sweatshop in Jordan, where Chinese workers are forced to work seven-day 93-hour work weeks, sewing clothing for Liz Claiborne, Kohl’s, Polo Ralph Lauren, Macy’s and others. Reminiscent of slavery, dozens of Chinese workers flee every month, running away from the factory to either work off the books in small domestic garment factories, or use up all the wages they earned to purchase tickets back to China. 

The Jordanian Ministry of Labor will never the effective if it does not build a relationship of trust, respect and honesty with the guest workers, which is now sorely missing.

Watch Latha's and Kamala’s Testimonies on YouTube

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