AFWA reports continued cases of GBV in Gap, H&M's India supply chain
Three new reports by a coalition including the Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) have documented gender-based violence (GBV) in the supply chains of a number of fashion brands including Gap and H&M.
Concerns around the Asian supply chain of H&M, Gap, and Walmart have been raised by a coalition of organisations including AFWA, Central Cambodia, Global Labor Justice, Sedane Labour Resource Centre (LIPS) Indonesia, and the Society for Labour and Development (SLD) India.
The reports include accounts of widespread physical violence, forced overtime, and sexual harassment against women across Asian countries including India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. The reports call for the brands to take immediate action to protect female employees.
The report focusing on H&M, “Gender-Based Violence in the H&M Garment Supply Chain”, includes reports of women working in factories in the brand’s supply chain, including in Indian factories, who have experienced both GBV and sexual harassment.
H&M has responded to the report’s claims about its supply chain. A spokesperson for the brand told FashionUnited: “Violence against women is one of the most prevalent human rights violations. Gender-based violence makes women all around the world suffer daily and undermines their health, dignity, and security… This report clearly shows the need of continuously addressing these issues. The empowerment of women economically and socially is a way to prevent gender-based violence.”
Nine garment factories that supply clothing to Gap and H&M were investigated by the coalition between January and May this year. Each factory investigated was found to be problematic.
As more and more light has been shone on human rights violations in the supply chains of many global fashion brands over the last few years, many brands are being forced to look closer at their supply chains, often spread across the world.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is in the process of setting international labour standards on GBV and harassment in the workplace and it appears that a brand’s ability to follow this code will matter more and more to both NGOs and consumers alike.
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