New study reveals Human Rights Violations in European Garment Factories

New study reveals Human Rights Violations in European Garment Factories

By Sam Mabley

New study reveals Human Rights Violations in European Garment Factories

Today, we want to tell you about a report that nobody’s talking about.

In April, The Clean Clothes Campaign and Bread for the World released a study about exploitation in European clothing factories.

It focussed on German brands and retailers. Brands like Hugo Boss and Espirit, working in Serbia, Ukraine, Croatia and Bulgaria.

Here are a few things they found out:

1. None of the workers in the factories received a living wage. They wrote “to make things worse, in none of the production facilities supplying German brands were workers able to earn above the EU’s own poverty threshold”.

2. In all the factories investigated, workers reported threats, insults, humiliation and intimidation.

3. There were indicators of gender discrimination. According to Labour Behind The Label, approximately 80% of garment workers are women. One of the most poorly paid roles in a garment factory is sewing, which is mostly done by women. In this position women are overrepresented, however in management women are underrepresented.

4. Workers also unanimously spoke about constant exhaustion and chronic fatigue.


All shocking. All things which have been going on for far too long.

Being ethical is on trend, so brands talk about it. But in reality we’re finding garment workers are still being abused. The Clean Clothes Campaign note that they have seen no change in conditions compared to their earlier investigations.

The fashion industry needs to change. Not for us. But for the millions of women, men and children around the globe making our clothes.

Here’s three things we can do to make a difference:

1. Educate. Talk to our friends and those around us about the need for change in the fashion industry.
2. Challenge. Write to brands, ask them questions about what they’re doing to ensure an ethical supply chain.
3. Spend. Buy with more ethical & sustainable brands who are transforming the fashion industry.

You can find the full report here.