In honor of Labor Day, we are launching a second petition drive, asking Queen Rania of Jordan—herself a leading women’s rights advocate—to intervene to stop the sexual abuse and gross violations against the 5,000 young Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi and Indian women workers at the Classic sweatshop.
Queen Rania launched the “Stop Violence Against Women” campaign in Jordan in 2004.
“At least one out of every three women in the world has been beaten or abused. It is a worldwide shame. And no country has won that battle yet.”
Also, if you have not done so already, please sign the petition to Wal-Mart, Hanes, Sears, Target, Macy’s and Kohl’s to stop the rapes at the Classic sweatshop in Jordan—and please spread the word to your family and friends. The good news is that to date 138,932 people have signed the petition on Change.org!
Student Power: Chicago High School Students Leaflet Sears!
Nine high school students joined by a faculty member handed out over 650 flyers outside Sears’ flagship store on State Street in Chicago on Sunday, August 28. Over 100 shoppers approached the students asking for more information about Sears’ sweatshop production across the developing world. They plan to do this weekly until the abuse is ended. The students also found Lands’ End fleece garments that were made at the brutal Classic factory in Jordan. Two hundred and fifty students at Dundee Crown High School have joined the Youth Labor Committee to support the rights of young people—often their same age—across the developing world, who are locked in sweatshops, paid pennies an hour to produce the goods we buy. The Youth Labor Committee is now spreading to other high schools in the Chicago area.
Anil Santha--Classic’s general manager, who is also a serial rapist--has left Jordan, scurrying back to Sri Lanka. Anil is not stupid. He knows exactly how many young women he has brutally raped. If the repression at Classic is ever lifted allowing the rape victims come forward, Anil knows he will rot in prison for the rest of his life.
With Anil gone, Classic’s corrupt owner, Sanal Kumar, has put a Bangladeshi production manager, Mr. Faruk Miah, in charge of threatening and coaching the young Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan women, instructing them to lie that factory conditions are good and the women are treated with respect.
The only problem is that Mr. Faruk Miah is himself a rapist! He violently raped a young Bangladeshi woman in her dorm. After the victim threatened to denounce him, Faruk Miah locked her in the dorm for three weeks before forcibly deporting her back to Bangladesh under false charges. (Within a matter of days, a video tape interview with the rape victim will be available.)
More Trouble and Abuse in JordanFour hundred Bangladeshi garment workers have struck the Chinese-owned IBGM factory over miserable and harsh sweatshop conditions. Management responded by invading the women’s dorm, beating the women and dragging them back to the factory. Two male workers were burned when managers forcibly held their hands to hot press machines. Twelve workers suspected of being strike leaders have been fired and are to be forcibly deported.
What sense does it make for Chinese-owned factories in Jordan to hire exploited guest workers from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India, strip them of their rights, abuse them, and then export these sweatshop garments duty-free to the U.S.?
Is this how the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement was meant to function? Of course not. But we must now demand that the Jordanian Ministry of Labor finally implement the worker rights provision in the Free Trade Agreement.
Surely the IBGM managers who have brutally beaten and deliberately inflicted serious burns on their employees must face criminal prosecution. The Ministry of Labor cannot remain so passive. If factory managers violently and illegally abuse workers, they must be held accountable. If they sat in jail a few months, it would likely have a very positive impact on their behavior.
Note: The Jordanian Ministry of Labor has inexplicably rewarded the Chinese-owned IBGM sweatshop by putting it on the Ministry’s “Golden List” of better factories in Jordan. What is going on? Can the Ministry of Labor possibly explain this?
STUDENT POWER!This year, students and their parents will spend $68.8 billion on back to school goods! There are 76 million elementary, high school and college students in the United States.
- 16 million high school students will spend an average of $604 each on back to school purchases.
- On average, 20.6 million college students will spend $809 each. Collectively, college students will spend $46.03 billion on back to school shopping.
- Did you know that for the big retailers, back to school spending is second only to the winter holidays?
- Corporations want to “brand” students while they are young—so they will be loyal consumers for the rest of their lives. They are desperately afraid that young people will stand up, begin asking serious questions, and join the campaign to hold corporations accountable to respect human and workers rights!
Where are the Police when the Workers are Beaten?Mr. Sadi, a Jordanian manager at the Chinese-owned IBGM sweatshop, acted deliberately and forcibly to inflict paid by burning the hands of two foreign guest workers in retaliation for their seeking their legal rights. However, when the injured workers when to the Jordanian police to file a complaint, they were summarily dismissed.
Mr. Sadi and several other abusive IBGM managers should be fired for routinely punching and slapping the workers, forcing them to work excessive overtime hours without pay. The abusive supervisors are: Sohel, Alamgir, Babul, Arif, Zia andHakim.
Please ask Queen Rania and Princess Basma to intervene to stop the sexual abuse and gross violations against the 5,000 young Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi and Indian women workers at the Classic sweatshop.
Go to the Classic-Jordan Campaign page for a full list of reports, action alerts, news articles, testimony videos and transcripts related to this case.