Painstakingly slow steps have been taken to end the widespread prevalence of sweatshops.
Millions of workers around the world continue to contend with a globalised system that thrives on inhumane working conditions.
Often progress comes in the form of a reactive action that follows an incident in which large numbers of preventable fatalities have occurred.
In particular, the Asia-Pacific region has for too long been seen as the developed world’s manufacturing room for clothing and footwear. With little to no labor protection enforcement and regulation in many of Asia’s developing countries, this part of the world has proven to be an opportune area for multinational corporations to increase profit margins via worker exploitation.
It’s estimated there are some 75 million people employed in the apparel sector around the world, and three quarters of them are women and young girls.
The International LabourOrganisation has been working in the Asia-Pacific region to improve conditions in the readymade garment sector, including in Bangladesh. The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement has also been put on hold due to demands that trade accords not be signed with countries that do not uphold human and labor rights.
As countries in the Asia-Pacific continue to develop at accelerated rates, the cycle of worker exploitation has continued.