The Faces of Bangladesh Garment Workers

Collection with 14 media items created by Eleanor Moseman

29 Jan 2014 05:00

Bangladesh's garment industry made headlines on April 24, 2013 because of the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, a sub district of Dhaka. Even before the death of an estimated 1,100 people last April, there have been incidents before the one making headlines. In November of 2012, a fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh killed at least 112 people. Charred shorts with the label of one of North America's largest retail brand was found among the remains. Only 5% of textile factories are owned by foreign investors, with most of the production being controlled by local investors. Textiles account for 80% of the country's exports.

Since the most recent deadly incident, it has become extremely difficult to obtain access to factories as most managers are very suspicious of journalists, foreign or local. In January of this year, these portraits were made at a tee-shirt factory work camp near Gazipur, north of Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka. The factory is only a three minute walk from the shacks these migrant workers call “home”.

These are the faces of the people, and their families, behind the tag that reads “Made In Bangladesh”. Many children and young adults have already spent nearly their entire life within these camps that are reminiscent of refugee structures. Young women are living alone, often without any family members and even absent from their husband and children. If a woman or husband is lucky enough to have their spouse present, they must reside in different areas of the camp to prevent problems arising between the sexes. Often entire families live within these camps and as the parents split day and evening shifts, because factories run 24 hours, children will take on the responsibilites of caring for the younger.

The stories of these people are very common among the people of Bangladesh. It was estimated in 2013 that approximately 4 million of the country's 156 million people are employed in the $19 billion-a-year industry. It is not only the working conditions that need to be improved, but also the living conditions that these people must go home to, to rest for the next day of work. Their living quarters are nothing more than slums with a few guards and a manager to look over the employees.

These are the faces of those that are injured, and at times die, in poor conditions to clothe the world.

Bangladesh Dhaka Workers Work Labor Laborer Garment Garment Indu... Work Camp Documentary Reportage Portrait Photojournalism Editorial Poverty

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Kobirhossion
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
29 Jan 2014

Kobirhossion is 32 years old, married and with 3 kids.

Originally from Commilla, he has worked and lived here for over 12 years without any family members.

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Zorna and Her Husband
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Zorna is approximately 25 years old and stands next to her husband in a camp for garment workers about 100km north of Bangladesh’s capital city, Dhaka.

She has resided at this particular camp for over 10 years. The couple must live separated, as the men and women’s living quarters are separated to prevent problems.

They have one son that lives with family in their hometown of Jamalpur-Sherpur.

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Eighteen Year Old Laborer
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

A young garment worker apprehensively states she is 18 years old. She has been at this camp for a couple of years and comes from the city of Rangpur.

She lives alone, separated from her parents, 1 brother and 5 sisters.

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Young Daughter of Garment Workers
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

A daughter of garment workers spends her time in the worker camp. Since both parents will be working during the day time hours, she will be looked over by the director of the camp but mostly by the other adults and older children living in this camp.

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Nurruzman
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Nurruzman, 30 years, is a new employee of this factory and has resided at this camp for only 6 months. He is alone, leaving his wife and 2 sons in his hometown of Jamalpur-Sherpur.

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Brother and Sister of Laborers
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

A 10 year old girl holds onto the hand of her brother. The two, along with their parents and two other sisters, have lived at this camp for about 5 years. Hometown is Jamalpur-Sherpur.

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Talif
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Talif is 21 years old and comes from Jamalpur-Sherpur.

He is married but still has no children. He has resided at this camp for 6 years.

During his hours off he sells goods along the streets, such as sunglasses, for additional income.

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Young Woman Garment Worker
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Many Bangladeshis can only give an approximate age. This woman aged between 20 and 25, has been away from her husband and son for almost 5 years. From Jamalpur-Sherpur.

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Rokiabezom
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Rokiabezom states she is 30 years old and has been at this camp, away from her husband and one son for 7 years.

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Sofik
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Sofik, 19 years old, returns from the market along the dangerous roads of Bangladesh with fresh cuts of beef for dinner.

He has been here for 2 years, alone. Originally from Jamalpur-Sherpur.

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Daughter of Laborers Under a Dupatta
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

With such close and intimate living quarters, child care is a community effort.

This young girl will watch over the younger children as parents are absent during the day and night. (Factories run 24 hours a day.)

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Nazma
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Nazma is 25 years old and is married with one daughter.

She resides here at the camp withoutthem, for over 6 years.

Originally from Jamalpur-Sherpur.

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Muhammed Abdulla
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Muhammed Abdulla is between the ages of 22-24 and has been in this camp for 18 years.

He’s married with one son and both reside in Jamalpur-Sherpur.

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Young Girl Hangs Laundry in the Camp
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

A daughter of garment factory employees, hangs clothes to dry in the last moments of sunshine.

No matter age or gender, everyone takes on house hold responsibilities.