Human Traffic Watch

Workers Burned Alive Making Jeans for Export

In Awareness, Human Trafficking on September 18, 2012 at 8:42 am

You have ruthless buyers sitting in the U.S. who don’t care what you do, as long as you do it on time… We take a hit every time we’re late. That means lost margins. That means we do what we need to do to make our orders, fast. This factory owner may have been working extra shifts just for that purpose…
–Ali Ahmad, Owner of Nizam Textiles in Karachi, Pakistan1

More than 300 trapped workers were killed in two separate fires on the same day—289 workers in an apparel factory in Karachi and 25 workers in a shoe factory in Lahore—a day Nasir Mansoor, leader of the National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan (NTUF)—calls the “darkest and saddest day in the history of Pakistan’s labor movement.”

The Karachi factory, Ali Enterprises, operated illegally, without proper registration. When fire broke out—reportedly for the fourth time within two years—more than 600 workers were trapped.  The main sliding door was locked to protect the merchandise; windows were barred with iron grills; stairs and doorways were blocked with piles of finished merchandise; and there were no emergency exits.  None of the workers had appointment letters and most of them were contract employees hired by a third party.  As contract workers they were not entitled to social security or workers’ compensation.  None of these workers had the security to voice their fears about the risky working conditions they found themselves in.

1 NBC News, “‘We were trapped inside’: Pakistan factory fires kill at least 261,” September 12, 2012

 Source: IJM e-mail

  1. Reblogged this on THE SCARECROW and commented:
    I hope they were low-riders, but either way, what country is this? Oh…right. *Hums the Canadian anthem*

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