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Fab Flash: Topshop Clothes Made By 'Slave Labor'?

Fab Flash: Topshop Clothes Made By 'Slave Labor'?

The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Sir Philip Green, who owns Topshop, TopMan, Miss Selfridge, and other British retail conglomerates, paid Asian factory workers less than $8 to make clothes for Green's stores, including the Kate Moss for Topshop collection.

The hundreds of Sri Lankan, Indian, and Bangladeshi workers are employed in a factory in Mauritius, where they work for up to 12 hours per day, six days a week. Workers told The Times that they were recruited in their home countries and promised wages up to five times what they actually received; they also paid up to $1,425 to be guaranteed a job. Once at the factory in Mauritius, however, they receive approximately 44 cents to 81 cents an hour - about 40% below the local average wage. The wages have also been found to be set according to race, with those from Bangladesh being paid substantially less than Sri Lankans.

As for Green's response? He said that he was treating the allegations seriously and would investigate: "You are telling me that factories are happy to breach our code of conduct. I've got to look into it." Yes, Sir, I think you do.

Join The Conversation
paii paii 10 years
This happens in additional countries and more often then is reported and more often then we get word.
katlovesclothes katlovesclothes 10 years
How Horrifying! I never read this report before your website posted it! I will forward this, and am glad to be aware of the abuses... so I do not support or finance this cruelty.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 10 years
Thank you fabsugar for reporting this. I read so many fashion blogs that are all surface and no soul, but yours proves to be an exception with this article. Thank you.
muchacha muchacha 10 years
i can't say i'm surprised.. although there are measures to take to ensure a living wage is paid. Thanks for posting Fab, I am interested in topics like this one.
valepere valepere 10 years
I have written my master's thesis on this subject, and it is sad to say that we encountered that it was the same sh** in both developed and developing countries... We found that big businesses seem to be just getting money and never know that there is (or should be) a limit for profitability! Seriously, when will they stop?
lilflowa lilflowa 10 years
All big corperations do this? why the sudden disgust...ppl have turned a blind eye for years knowing this goes on....Topshop is just another company caught out and added to the list........along with Gap and other big companies..........Ideally ppl will boycott......but we all know its never going to happen!
beingtazim beingtazim 10 years
i'm sorry - is this a surprise? how do they keep their prices so low...don't people think about this in relation to labour? i guess not since these types of stores are popular everywhere. i know someone in mauritius and she says it is a hellish place to live with so many factories taking up space and ruining what used to be a beautiful and clean island.
poisonivy poisonivy 10 years
He totally knows whats going on!! This is something that happens more than we are aware of. And then when its brought to light, they feign stupidity. Thanks to many people who boycott these companies, activists who lobby against them, and outcries from the public, they have to account for their unethical treatment of factory workers living in less developed countries. Green is just being extremely greedy! He makes billions in profits and gives these workers absolutely nothing!
marley11 marley11 10 years
i'm not surprised. one must also take note, however, that while slave labor is evidently evil. what happens if the companies are tackled? how else will they make money, though corrupt money, for a lengthy period of time through all the legal trouble, they will be unable to sufficiently support themselves or their family, they will die w/o what little support they have. are you willing to let all those workers die, to stop slave lavor? i am first and foremost against slave labor, but the process through which a company will have to go through to stop the slave labor, will most clearly create a more impoverished life for the workers. As soon as we find a way to create a process that will immediately take care of those workers, we are then able to truly help them and stop slave labor.
Schaianne Schaianne 10 years
And this surprises anyone? Just like good ole American businesses hiring illegal aliens so they can pay 'em under the table at a HUGE wage saving... it's the same all over, sadly. =P
karen-f karen-f 10 years
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 10 years
Maki you really need to get clued about the state of the world. Not everywhere is everything black and white that's why most of these people go to 3rd world nations because everything is cheap and the workers have nowhere to turn to. And expensive clothes do not equal no slave labour, they have the exact same practices except they are more cutthroat about it.
myswthrtthedrnk myswthrtthedrnk 10 years
ps. Thanks for the alert, Fabsugar, and sorry for the 100 typos up there - I just get so fired up and fingers fly and I can't half see straight I'm so angry right now....
myswthrtthedrnk myswthrtthedrnk 10 years
There's no need to use quotations around slave labor. Slavery is exactly what it is. Unfortunately, Topshop is not the only major brand to use slave labor. Neither is the garmet industry the only one to use slave labor. Unless you buy only fair trade, it's likely that slaves were used to produce your chocolate, coffee, sugar, tomatos, diamonds, rugs, the steel in your cars... There are an estimated 27 MILLION people in held in slavery in the world today. Only the sale of drugs surpasses the sale of humans in illict trades. Men, women and children are bought and sold, forced to labor for little to no wages in factories, restaurants, fields; as domestic servants; and as commercial sex slaves. CHILDREN as young 5 are forced to have sex with as many as 25 men a day for the profit of pimps. (So note, if you use the term "pimp" you're really referring to someone who uses incredible violence, fear and rape to control his victim). It happens all over the world, including in the United States. How do people get into this situation and why don't they just leave? There are millions of people living in absolute poverty all over the world. They are vunerable and are more likely to take a chance on a job offering in another place - sometimes parents even sell their own children for the hope of saving the rest of the family, or that the child will send home money. Sometimes they are forcibly taken. Once a trafficker has control of a person, they often move them to a different country and take all of their documents (passports etc.). Incredible violence is typically used in the first several days to break a victim's spirit; the threat of violence is always present and often time traffickers will threaten to harm a victim's family. The victim is also taught not to trust the police, and in many countries where corruption is rampant, the police often no security and may accept bribes from traffickers. So the victim doesn't speak the language, is in a country illegal, faces the threat of deportation or jail, and threats to self and family. Further, he/she is probably guarded and if he/she has seen anyone try to escape, that person has likely been killed or beaten within an inch of his life. Slavery is not what is used to be in that slaves today are disposable. Whereas the average slave in the American south cost the equivalent of $40,000, today the average cost of a slave is less than $100. And there is a glut of new potential slaves. There's no need for a deed of ownership or to worry about keeping slaves strong and healthy. Today's slaves are easily killed and replaced. There is a lot of information about this topic out there (you can start with our own Department of State's Annual report - and a lot of groups working on the issue. I'm also happy to answer questions if you message me. As for Topshop - as someone who loves Kate Moss' line, I'm outraged. I will be making calls to the company to demand answers and let them know I will NOT support slave labor under any circumstances. Companies will not act ethically until they are forced to do so by their consumers.
ktownpolarbear ktownpolarbear 10 years
why am i not surprised . . .
Reema Reema 10 years
This is nothing new people have been exploited for years and years now...I mean how can people be this low...I totally agree with sumnboutme this is called slavery...and yes, it still exists today... its a sad, sad truth...but we have to be able to identify slave-free or torture-free (whatever u want to call them) goods!
NyingNying NyingNying 10 years
likewise.. Maki, that was just poor.. your thinking is what makes this world so clueless... I'm ashamed, I'm embarrassed for your comment
blingbling blingbling 10 years
Wow Maki. I think you're imagining that the conditions in other countries are the same as they are here - even here that kind of thing happens. (Ever read about the meat-packing industry?) Of course YOU wouldn't stay if you're being abused. these people have no options, no money to leave, are too afraid to unionize for fear of reprisals, and their countries don't have laws to protect workers. If they do, they turn a blind eye. Don't you think that if Sri Lanka had a minimum wage that was remotely livable (and if it were enforced) we wouldn't even hear stories like this? They don't, which is why companies like TopShop contract there. You can't think in terms of what you would do - the poorest americans are often richer than the people we're talking about here.
potterlove potterlove 10 years
Nothing new there. Hope they have their union (hopefully they have one) learn to fixate this.
vienvien vienvien 10 years
This is not "news" anymore. It's not only Topshop who does that. It's also Nike, Ann Taylor, Jones New York, Banana Republic, Liz Claiborne, Ralph Lauren, etc. Most top branded clothing names do that .
makicabrera10 makicabrera10 10 years
There is no way I would ever stay at a job where I'm being abused, no matter how much I payed to get it (does that even make ANY sense?? PAYING to get a job???). Isn't this illegal??? There should be much more done than just "looking into it"! Why don't the workers say anything?? Is this REALLY what the world has come to?!?!
shini shini 10 years
Topshop is kinda like H&M clothing quality but more expensive. No surprise there. I guess they're losing a bit of customers now.
sassy3lady sassy3lady 10 years
Really, I wish companies would stop turning a blind eye to the situation. Its a shame that he can just pretend that he has no idea what's going on. Clearly these people must know what is happening, don't play stupid with us and pay the people what they are worth. Clearly its more than 44 cents an hour. For as much as these clothes cost those workers should get at least $40 an hour.
yeesi yeesi 10 years
Cheap clothes equal cheap labor, it's simple mathematics people.
kcreson kcreson 10 years
wow! This is awful!
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