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Made in Bangladesh
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By U.S. Editor
10 Apr 2012

Bangladesh’s garment industry, responsible for nearly 80% of the country’s exports, employs an estimated two to three million people, 80% of which are women, in over 4,000 factories all over the country. Although violating national law, some suppliers still employ children under the age of 14. Workers, reliant on their wages to support their families, are highly underpaid; most people earn approximately 1,500-2,000 Taka (15 - 20 Euros) per month while working 12 hour days, 6 days a week.

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The Dangerous Life of Bangladesh Ship...
Sitakund, Bangladesh
By Mais Istanbuli
10 Apr 2012

Ship-breaking is known as the breaking or recirculation of old ships for financial return. Old ships are sold so that the valuable steel can be reused. About 95 percent of a ship’s mass can be recycled.

Until the 1960s, ship-breaking was concentrated in western countries like the United States, Germany, United Kingdom or Italy. From the early 1980s, the majority of the world’s vessels taken out of service were sent to India, China, Pakistan or Bangladesh.

The workers at the ship-breaking yards in Sitakund, situated north of Chittagong in the Bay of Bengal, face the toughest working conditions of the whole country. Extremely hard labour, fatal working incidents, the exposure of abestos and toxic waste are among the deadly threats to those working in the ship-dismantling industry. Every step could be their last. Far away from their villages, the workers seldom see their families. They do all of this for only $1-3 per day.

Risky working conditions, environmental pollution and the adoption of child labor in the ship-breaking industry have drawn international attention on Bangladesh’s ship-dismantling. Changes occured but are far from international standards.

Over 100,000 workers are employed at ship breaking yards worldwide. It is estimated that some 50,000 people are directly employed in the ship-breaking industry in Bangladesh.

Local organisations in Bangladesh estimate that some 1,000-2,000 workers have died in the last 30 years, and many more have suffered serious injuries.

The ship breaking industry in Bangladesh is estimated worth an annual turn over of around 1.5 billion dollars.

Today access to the ship-breaking yards is very limited. Journalists and photographers, who covered grievance in the area, aren’t welcome anymore. The people of Bangladesh are aware of the problems and willing to change the situation.
The Labor Law Act 2006 has improved conditons on health, safety, working hours and compensation – but due to lack of political will and resources change is still not on the way.

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Made in Bangladesh (6 of 23)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Michael Biach
10 Apr 2012

Female workers in Bangladesh's garment industry.

Bangladesh’s garment industry is responsible for nearly 80% of the country’s exports – mainly to Europe and the United States – and therefore the single greatest source of economic growth.

An estimated number of two to three million people are employed in more than 4,000 factories all over the country, not including the thousands of sub-suppliers. About 80% of the working force are women. Although violating national law sub-suppliers often still employ children under the age of 14.

Workers are reliant on the engagement to support their families. Jobs are highly underpaid – most factories pay the maximum of 1,500-2,000 Taka (about 15 – 20 Euros) per month. Labor time is up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Several clothing buyers asked the Bangladeshi government to raise the minimum wages but factory owners argue that they will not be competitive against Vietnam, China and other big producers if they raise wages and therefore would have to close their factories and discharge all their employees.

As people are reliant on their jobs they are still willing to work even if underpaid. Continuous riots by textile workers break out – leading to short-term shutdowns and often to injuries and fatalities among workers. It is unlikely that either the international clothing companies nor the local Bangladeshi factory owners will bear the costs of raised wages.

A change of the situation will only be achieved if consumers are aware of the social inequity and put pressure on the companies involved.

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Made in Bangladesh (5 of 23)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Michael Biach
10 Apr 2012

Child labor in Bangladesh's garment industry. In a hot and dusty room kids package jeans for export.

Bangladesh’s garment industry is responsible for nearly 80% of the country’s exports – mainly to Europe and the United States – and therefore the single greatest source of economic growth.

An estimated number of two to three million people are employed in more than 4,000 factories all over the country, not including the thousands of sub-suppliers. About 80% of the working force are women. Although violating national law sub-suppliers often still employ children under the age of 14.

Workers are reliant on the engagement to support their families. Jobs are highly underpaid – most factories pay the maximum of 1,500-2,000 Taka (about 15 – 20 Euros) per month. Labor time is up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Several clothing buyers asked the Bangladeshi government to raise the minimum wages but factory owners argue that they will not be competitive against Vietnam, China and other big producers if they raise wages and therefore would have to close their factories and discharge all their employees.

As people are reliant on their jobs they are still willing to work even if underpaid. Continuous riots by textile workers break out – leading to short-term shutdowns and often to injuries and fatalities among workers. It is unlikely that either the international clothing companies nor the local Bangladeshi factory owners will bear the costs of raised wages.

A change of the situation will only be achieved if consumers are aware of the social inequity and put pressure on the companies involved.

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Made in Bangladesh (4 of 23)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Michael Biach
10 Apr 2012

Young and sometimes underaged workers in Bangladesh's garment industry.

Bangladesh’s garment industry is responsible for nearly 80% of the country’s exports – mainly to Europe and the United States – and therefore the single greatest source of economic growth.

An estimated number of two to three million people are employed in more than 4,000 factories all over the country, not including the thousands of sub-suppliers. About 80% of the working force are women. Although violating national law sub-suppliers often still employ children under the age of 14.

Workers are reliant on the engagement to support their families. Jobs are highly underpaid – most factories pay the maximum of 1,500-2,000 Taka (about 15 – 20 Euros) per month. Labor time is up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Several clothing buyers asked the Bangladeshi government to raise the minimum wages but factory owners argue that they will not be competitive against Vietnam, China and other big producers if they raise wages and therefore would have to close their factories and discharge all their employees.

As people are reliant on their jobs they are still willing to work even if underpaid. Continuous riots by textile workers break out – leading to short-term shutdowns and often to injuries and fatalities among workers. It is unlikely that either the international clothing companies nor the local Bangladeshi factory owners will bear the costs of raised wages.

A change of the situation will only be achieved if consumers are aware of the social inequity and put pressure on the companies involved.

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Made in Bangladesh (3 of 23)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Michael Biach
10 Apr 2012

Young and sometimes underaged workers in Bangladesh's garment industry.

Bangladesh’s garment industry is responsible for nearly 80% of the country’s exports – mainly to Europe and the United States – and therefore the single greatest source of economic growth.

An estimated number of two to three million people are employed in more than 4,000 factories all over the country, not including the thousands of sub-suppliers. About 80% of the working force are women. Although violating national law sub-suppliers often still employ children under the age of 14.

Workers are reliant on the engagement to support their families. Jobs are highly underpaid – most factories pay the maximum of 1,500-2,000 Taka (about 15 – 20 Euros) per month. Labor time is up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Several clothing buyers asked the Bangladeshi government to raise the minimum wages but factory owners argue that they will not be competitive against Vietnam, China and other big producers if they raise wages and therefore would have to close their factories and discharge all their employees.

As people are reliant on their jobs they are still willing to work even if underpaid. Continuous riots by textile workers break out – leading to short-term shutdowns and often to injuries and fatalities among workers. It is unlikely that either the international clothing companies nor the local Bangladeshi factory owners will bear the costs of raised wages.

A change of the situation will only be achieved if consumers are aware of the social inequity and put pressure on the companies involved.

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Made in Bangladesh (9 of 23)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Michael Biach
10 Apr 2012

Worker in Dhaka's garment industry.

Bangladesh’s garment industry is responsible for nearly 80% of the country’s exports – mainly to Europe and the United States – and therefore the single greatest source of economic growth.

An estimated number of two to three million people are employed in more than 4,000 factories all over the country, not including the thousands of sub-suppliers. About 80% of the working force are women. Although violating national law sub-suppliers often still employ children under the age of 14.

Workers are reliant on the engagement to support their families. Jobs are highly underpaid – most factories pay the maximum of 1,500-2,000 Taka (about 15 – 20 Euros) per month. Labor time is up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Several clothing buyers asked the Bangladeshi government to raise the minimum wages but factory owners argue that they will not be competitive against Vietnam, China and other big producers if they raise wages and therefore would have to close their factories and discharge all their employees.

As people are reliant on their jobs they are still willing to work even if underpaid. Continuous riots by textile workers break out – leading to short-term shutdowns and often to injuries and fatalities among workers. It is unlikely that either the international clothing companies nor the local Bangladeshi factory owners will bear the costs of raised wages.

A change of the situation will only be achieved if consumers are aware of the social inequity and put pressure on the companies involved.

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Made in Bangladesh (8 of 23)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Michael Biach
10 Apr 2012

Underage workers in Dhaka's textile industry.

Bangladesh’s garment industry is responsible for nearly 80% of the country’s exports – mainly to Europe and the United States – and therefore the single greatest source of economic growth.

An estimated number of two to three million people are employed in more than 4,000 factories all over the country, not including the thousands of sub-suppliers. About 80% of the working force are women. Although violating national law sub-suppliers often still employ children under the age of 14.

Workers are reliant on the engagement to support their families. Jobs are highly underpaid – most factories pay the maximum of 1,500-2,000 Taka (about 15 – 20 Euros) per month. Labor time is up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Several clothing buyers asked the Bangladeshi government to raise the minimum wages but factory owners argue that they will not be competitive against Vietnam, China and other big producers if they raise wages and therefore would have to close their factories and discharge all their employees.

As people are reliant on their jobs they are still willing to work even if underpaid. Continuous riots by textile workers break out – leading to short-term shutdowns and often to injuries and fatalities among workers. It is unlikely that either the international clothing companies nor the local Bangladeshi factory owners will bear the costs of raised wages.

A change of the situation will only be achieved if consumers are aware of the social inequity and put pressure on the companies involved.

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Made in Bangladesh (7 of 23)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Michael Biach
10 Apr 2012

Textile workers in Bangladesh's garment industry.

Bangladesh’s garment industry is responsible for nearly 80% of the country’s exports – mainly to Europe and the United States – and therefore the single greatest source of economic growth.

An estimated number of two to three million people are employed in more than 4,000 factories all over the country, not including the thousands of sub-suppliers. About 80% of the working force are women. Although violating national law sub-suppliers often still employ children under the age of 14.

Workers are reliant on the engagement to support their families. Jobs are highly underpaid – most factories pay the maximum of 1,500-2,000 Taka (about 15 – 20 Euros) per month. Labor time is up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Several clothing buyers asked the Bangladeshi government to raise the minimum wages but factory owners argue that they will not be competitive against Vietnam, China and other big producers if they raise wages and therefore would have to close their factories and discharge all their employees.

As people are reliant on their jobs they are still willing to work even if underpaid. Continuous riots by textile workers break out – leading to short-term shutdowns and often to injuries and fatalities among workers. It is unlikely that either the international clothing companies nor the local Bangladeshi factory owners will bear the costs of raised wages.

A change of the situation will only be achieved if consumers are aware of the social inequity and put pressure on the companies involved.