During his life as a civil rights activist in South Africa, Desmond Tutu (1931-2021) stated, “It means a lot to those who are oppressed to know that they are not alone. Never let anyone tell you that what you are doing is insignificant.” He supported human rights and fought against oppression.
Numerous Bangladeshi people are oppressed in big clothing factories and have to work very hard. Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries worldwide and a hub for clothing manufacturing with the garment industry being the largest contributor to the economy. The country has become an attractive destination for international brands and retailers due to low labor costs and a large pool of skilled workers.
Many people have to work under very unsanitary and unsafe conditions. In addition to low wages and long hours, many workers also face dreadful working conditions, including inadequate ventilation, bad lighting, and insufficient sanitation facilities. These conditions can lead to health problems, such as respiratory issues and skin diseases. Clothing factories in Bangladesh employ millions of workers. Many of them are women as well as children. Having a job is not a matter of course, so workers often feel lucky. Families often need money, and they require their children to work too. Child labor is not uncommon. Many children show their employers incorrect personal information so that they can work.
In 2013, the Rana Plaza disaster, which killed over 1,100 workers in a clothing factory collapse, brought global attention to the atrocious working conditions in the country’s garment industry. Because of that and other cases, the Bangladeshi clothing industry has made efforts to improve working conditions. For example, the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety requires factories to undergo safety inspections and implement safety measures. Additionally, the government has raised the minimum wage and taken steps to improve working conditions.
As a result, more needs to be done to ensure that workers are treated fairly and with respect. Companies can take steps to ensure that their supply chains are transparent and responsible. Furthermore, governments can enact and enforce regulations that protect the rights and safety of workers. In my opinion, the political system should take more actions to protect human rights and stop child labor.
Additionally, consumers can play a role in supporting ethical and sustainable brands that prioritize the benefit of workers. We have a responsibility to be aware of the conditions under which our clothes are made. We can reinforce brands that prioritize the well-being of workers and the environment. Fairly produced clothing often has a seal that confirms and guarantees this. Also, we can draw more attention to the situation of many Bangladeshi workers and their oppression. As Desmond Tutu said, it is important that people who are being oppressed do not feel
that they are alone. His quote highlights the importance of solidarity and empathy towards those who are facing oppression. When people are oppressed, they often feel isolated and helpless, as if they are the only ones facing their struggles. By standing in solidarity with them and showing support, we can help them feel seen and heard and remind them that they are not alone in their fight. It is easy to feel discouraged when we are trying to make a difference and facing resistance or obstacles. This quote reminds us that every effort we make, no matter how small it may seem, can have an impact on someone’s life.
Hopefully, in the future many people will raise their voices and promote human rights. As a community we can make a difference for many people, so that they can work and live without oppression and similar issues. Moreover, the industry will improve and buying behavior will change, because this will benefit numerous workers and stop child labor.
If you are interested to help and take part to improve Bangladeshi worker’s life, you can can support the following organization and get involved now:
Bangladesh Labour Foundation: https://www.blfbd.com
International Labour Organization: https://www.ilo.org/dhaka/Areasofwork/workers-and-employersorganizations/lang–en/index.htm