After funding a successful project aiming to rid the rug and carpet sector in Nepal and Afghanistan of child labour, TRAID is once again funding GoodWeave to pilot the same approach with garments.
The project will engage a handful of UK clothes brands to open up their supply chains so that GoodWeave can give each brand accurate data on how many children and forced labourers are involved at different levels of production.
Brands and retailers know that many parts of their clothes supply chains use exploitative labour. Currently, brands have information about its ‘first tier’ factory suppliers, where most spot checks take place. However, many stages of garment production work is outsourced by factories to sub-contractors further down the supply chain where workers are invisible and exploitation is rife.
In India, many homeworkers are involved in labour-intensive embellishment work such as hand-embroidery, beading and sequins. Factories send clothes to homeworkers to embellish them which are then sent back to the factory to be stitched. This work is mainly done by women and often, children in the home as young as five are introduced to embellishment as helpers, and later as workers. Labour like this takes place at the bottom of clothes production chains where workers are more vulnerable to exploitation including:-
- Child labour, particularly amongst girls
- Unjust debts locking workers into bonded labour
- Not being paid on time, or at all, and vulnerability to mistreatment, particularly for women workers
The project takes place in four villages in Uttar Pradesh, northern India that serve as a hub for home based work, particularly hand-embroidered items.
TRAID funding will be used to expand this pilot which launched in 2016 with support from the C&A Foundation to establish and test a new sourcing system. It will carry out supply chain mapping through all levels of production, and monitor strict no child labour and no forced labour standards. Specifically, TRAID funds will be used to recruit UK brands to participate and support them to open up their supply chains to look beyond tier one suppliers, to drive transparency and change down to the bottom of supply chains.
Read about how the project is educating Gulabsha, and girls like her here.