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Tell Walmart, Hanes, Target, Macy's, Lands' End and Kohl's to Stop Profiting from Rape | The Nation

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Peter Rothberg

Peter Rothberg

Opposing war, racism, sexism, climate change, economic injustice and high-stakes testing.

Tell Walmart, Hanes, Target, Macy's, Lands' End and Kohl's to Stop Profiting from Rape

Scores of young Southeast Asian female guest workers have been sexually abused and repeatedly raped while sewing clothing for some of the biggest brand names in American retail at the Classic Factory in Jordan, according to a report by the Institute of Global Labour and Human Rights, formerly known as the National Labor Committee.

The group’s findings are the result of a six-month undercover effort, says Charles Kernaghan, its director. “One young rape victim told us her assailant, a manager, bit her, leaving scars all over her body,” he says. “Women who become pregnant are forcibly deported and returned to Sri Lanka. Women who refuse the sexual advances of Classic‘s managers are also beaten and deported.”

The report also found that:

  • Through the Institute/National Labor Committee's reports, the Ministry of Labor has been made aware of the sexual abuse as early as 2007, but has done nothing.
  • The standard shift at Classic is 13 hours a day, six and seven days a week, with some 18 ½ hour shifts before the clothing must be shipped to the US.
  • According to witness testimonies, workers are routinely cursed at, hit and shortchanged of their wages for failing to reach their mandatory production goals. To press the women to work faster, managers grope and fondle them.
  • The workers-who are from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Egypt, earn a take-home wage of just 61 cents an hour.

These deeply disturbing videos offer personal testimony about the daily abuse.

On June 17, the factory's general manager, Anil Santha, was arrested in connection with rape allegations, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Santha was subsequently released on bond and returned to the factory twice before Jordanian labor officials temporarily barred him, Kernaghan said. The case against Santha is currently pending.

Please join the call to tell Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Hanes, Target and Macy's to end sexual abuse in their Jordanian supplier’s factory, Classic Fashion, and to take responsibility for compensating the victims.

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