NGOs Applaud US Customs and Border Protection’s Ban on Palm Oil Imports from FGV Holdings Berhad (FGV) But Warn of Potential for Failed Enforcement

Palm oil supplier to major brands including Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Mondelez, and Colgate-Palmolive sanctioned for use of forced labor

Washington, D.C.— On September 30th, US Customs and Border (CBP) announced a ban on palm oil imported from FGV Holdings Berhad (FGV) — one of Malaysia’s largest palm oil companies and a joint venture partner and major palm oil supplier to Procter & Gamble — due to its use of forced labor.

The ban, officially known as a withhold release order (WRO), was issued in response to a Tariff Act complaint filed over a year ago by Global Labor JusticeInternational Labor Rights Forum (GLJ – ILRF), Rainforest Action Network and SumofUs. According to 19 U.S.C. §1307 imports produced by forced labor are to be banned from the US.

The three co-petitioners and their campaign partner Freedom United applaud the decision by the CBP but warn that FGV has a history of attempting to exploit loopholes rather than clean up the labor issues on its palm oil plantations.

“This ban on FGV’s palm oil is the first step in holding the corporation accountable and pushing them to clean up their operations and supply chains. Due to the history of inaccurate reporting and lack of transparency with FGV, we urge CBP to consult with us as petitioners in the enforcement of the WRO prior to taking any steps to revoke it,” said Esmeralda López, Legal and Policy Director of Global Labor Justice – International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ – IRLF). ”Being a part of the enforcement process is essential in making sure migrant workers in Malaysia have the rights they deserve while also preventing consumers from funding forced labor when buying food, cosmetics and soaps. We look forward to working together to eradicate all practices that cause environmental destruction and make workers vulnerable to forced labor.”

“This ban is an important step in galvanizing labor reforms and supports consumer expectations that it is not acceptable for goods made with palm oil to be tainted by forced labor and the exploitation of migrant workers,” said Joanna Ewart-James, Executive Director of Freedom United. “The ban should not be lifted based on FGV’s promises to change — we need concrete proof and independent verification that workers’ rights are being upheld and that conditions that put them at risk of forced labor have been rectified.”

“Procter & Gamble and a long list of well-known brands and agribusiness companies have been knowingly profiting from FGV’s forced labor practices for years,” said Robin Averbeck, Forest Program Director for Rainforest Action Network. “It’s abhorrent that palm oil workers have continued to live in forced labor conditions simply so these companies can make increasing profits by paying illegally low prices for palm oil. For all these years these companies have refused to pay for remediation or publicly cut ties with FGV, so now the U.S. government has acted for them. Procter & Gamble and other brands must stop paying lip service to human rights and address forced labor and other labor abuses once and for all.”

“This ban on FGV’s palm oil is a strong reminder that no company, however big and powerful it may be, is above the law,” said Fatah Sadaoui, Campaigns Manager at SumOfUs. “Close to 300,000 people have taken action to hold Procter & Gamble, FGV, and other global brands accountable and express their solidarity with abused workers, victims of FGV and Procter & Gamble’s reckless greed. The message to FGV and Procter & Gamble, and other palm oil buyers is clearer than ever: the world is watching, it’s time to do the right thing and put people before profit.”

In response to the CBP ban, FGV can either re-export the goods to a third country, or provide “satisfactory evidence” to CBP that the goods in question were not produced with forced labor. The NGOs are concerned that the WRO may be lifted without being consulted because of ongoing issues with FGV’s transparency and independent verification of progress, which were explained in an August 17, 2020 letter to CBP.

FGV has a history of inaccurate reporting. For example, FGV reported on November 28th, 2018 and on June 29, 2019 that it had fully resolved labor issues. However, six months later, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) resuspended certification of FGV’s sustainable palm oil production because their audits found that payment and work conditions at the Sawit Serting mill were not aligned with domestic labor laws, including that FGV had failed to prevent migrant workers from paying exploitative recruitment fees and that workers were not adequately informed of their working conditions. While FGV has created an action plan to be monitored by the Fair Labor Association, there has not been any public reporting to date.

A campaign petition organized by Freedom United has been signed by more than 125,000 consumers around the world, urging CBP to issue a WRO against FGV palm oil. Meanwhile, more than 160,000 consumers organized by SumOfUs have called on Procter & Gamble, FGV’s joint venture partner and major customer, to address the ongoing forced labor issues on FGV’s plantations.

For immediate release: August 31st, 2020

Contact: Nazly Sobhi Damasio,

Human Rights Groups Call on US for Regional Ban on Imports from China Made with Uyghur Forced Labor

Groups file petition with Customs and Border Patrol for a regional Withold Release Order on cotton products from the Xinjiang Region

Today a group of human rights, labor and investor organizations, filed a formal petition with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), urging it to issue a regional withhold release order (WRO) on all cotton-made goods linked to the Xinjiang region of China based on evidence of widespread forced labor. Under U.S. law 19 U.S.C. §1307 it is illegal for the United States to allow entry of goods, “produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by convict labor or/and forced labor or/and indentured labor.”

Credible reports and widespread media coverage have thoroughly documented that global garment supply chains are tainted by forced labor and systematic human rights abuses against the ethnic Muslim populations in China’s Xinjiang region. Abuses include sterilization, violence, forced labor and imprisonment of Uyghur and Turkmenic peoples. United States Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, recently said: “Beijing’s barbarous actions targeting the Uyghur people are an outrage to the collective conscious of the world.” And just last month, over 200 human and labor rights and investor organizations launched a campaign, End Uyghur Forced Labor, calling on global corporations to divest from the region.

“It is time for concrete action to bring enforcement in line with reality. The large-scale forced-labor program is a core part of the government’s plan for control and surveillance of Uyghurs. It is a deliberate policy carried out in every corner of the Uyghur homeland,” said Omer Kanat, Executive Director, Uyghur Human Rights Project.

“Greedy for profit, major brands have put dollars over human rights. The Tariff Act was designed for cases like this to block goods- in this case brand name clothes—  from being sold to U.S. consumers making them complicit in gross abuses against the Uyghur people.” said Jennifer (JJ) Rosenbaum, Executive Director of Global Labor Justice- International Labor Rights Forum. “Corporate Social Responsibility efforts have again failed.  A regional WRO creates the necessary market consequences for the fast fashion brands who are profiting from forced labor.”

Earlier this summer, CBP issued four WROs against certain products from the Xinjiang region, but nothing sufficiently sweeping to dissuade the government of China from continuing its persecution of the Uyghur people, or to discourage major garment brands from importing cotton goods linked to forced labor and selling them to US consumers. Industry groups have repeatedly requested clear guidance from the US government and a regional WRO would provide it. There is precedent for such a blanket order.  In 2018, the CBP issued a WRO on all cotton and cotton made goods originating in Turkmenistan because of the country’s state-sponsored program of forced labor in the cotton sector.

“The same threshold is clearly met in Xinjiang given the scale and severity of state-sponsored forced labor and other abuses targeting Uyghurs and other Muslim and Turkic peoples,” said David Schilling, Sr Program Director for the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and the Investor Alliance for Human Rights.

At the same time, the UK-based Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), along with the World Uyghur Congress, is filing a companion petition with CBP based on a similar complaint filed with UK authorities earlier this year alleging widespread prison labor. UK law prohibits the import of prison labor-made goods.

Read the full petition attached.


Petitioners are:


Corporate Accountability Lab

Freedom United

Global Labor Justice – International Labor Rights Forum

Human Trafficking Legal Center

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

Investor Alliance for Human Rights

Uyghur American Association

Uyghur Human Rights Project

World Uyghur Congress

For immediate release: July 23rd, 2020

Contact: Nazly Sobhi Damasio,

180+ Orgs Demand Apparel Brands End Complicity in Uyghur Forced Labour

Today, 72 Uyghur rights groups are joined by over 100 civil society organisations and labour unions from around the world in calling on apparel brands and retailers to stop using forced labour in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (“Uyghur Region”), known to local people as East Turkistan, and end their complicity in the Chinese government’s human rights abuses. The groups have issued a call to action seeking brand commitments to cut all ties with suppliers implicated in forced labour and end all sourcing from the Uyghur Region, from cotton to finished garments, within twelve months.

“Now is the time for real action from brands, governments and international bodies – not empty declarations. To end the slavery and horrific abuses of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Turkic Muslim peoples by the Chinese government, brands must ensure their supply chains are not linked to the atrocities against these people. The only way brands can ensure they are not profiting from the exploitation is by exiting the region and ending relationships with suppliers propping up this Chinese government system,” said Jasmine O’Connor OBE, CEO of Anti-Slavery International.

The Chinese government has rounded up an estimated 1 to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim people in detention and forced-labour camps, the largest interment of an ethnic and religious minority since World War II. The atrocities in the Uyghur Region – including torture, forced separation of families, and the compulsory sterilisation of Uyghur women – are widely recognised to be crimes against humanity. A central element of the government’s strategy to dominate the Uyghur people is a vast system of forced labour, affecting factories and farms across the region and China, both inside and beyond the internment camps.

Gulzira Auelkhan, a Kazakh woman who was formerly detained in an internment camp and then subjected to forced labour in a factory said: “The clothes factory was no different from the [internment] camp. There were police, cameras, you couldn’t go anywhere.”

Despite global outrage at the abuses, leading apparel brands are bolstering and benefiting from the government’s assault on the peoples of the region. Brands continue to source millions of tons of cotton and yarn from the Uyghur Region. Roughly 1 in 5 cotton garments sold globally contains cotton and/or yarn from the Uyghur Region; it is virtually certain that many of these goods are tainted with forced labour. Moreover, apparel brands maintain lucrative partnerships with Chinese corporations implicated in forced labour, including those that benefit from the forced labour transfer of victims from the Uyghur Region to work in factories across China.

“Global brands need to ask themselves how comfortable they are contributing to a genocidal policy against the Uyghur people. These companies have somehow managed to avoid scrutiny for complicity in that very policy – this stops today,” said Omer Kanat, Executive Director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project.

The supply chains of most major apparel brands and retailers are tainted by Uyghur forced labour. Major corporations claim not to tolerate forced labour by their suppliers, but have offered no credible explanation as to how they can meet this standard while continuing to do business in a region where forced labour is rife.

“Forced labourers in the Uyghur Region face vicious retaliation if they tell the truth about their circumstances. This makes due diligence through labour inspections impossible and virtually guarantees that any brand sourcing from the Uyghur Region is using forced labour,” said Scott Nova, Executive Director of the Worker Rights Consortium.

“Given the lack of leverage and the inability to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts, apparel brands and retailers must take the necessary steps to end business relationships connected to the Uyghur Region in order to fulfil their responsibility to respect human rights as defined by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” said David Schilling, Senior Program Director of Human Rights at the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.

“If responsible business conduct has any meaning, it requires fashion brands to act when independent journalists, United Nations human rights experts, and human rights NGOs expose grave human rights abuses,” said Jennifer (JJ) Rosenbaum, Executive Director of Global Labor Justice – International Labor Rights Forum. “Business and human rights principles require fashion brands to stop using cotton and labour from the Uyghur Region in their global supply chains.”


Media Contacts:

Peter Irwin, Uyghur Human Rights Project (Washington, DC): +1 (646) 906-7722,

Penelope Kyritsis, Worker Rights Consortium (Washington, DC): +1 (401) 209-5917,

Chloe Cranston, Anti-Slavery International (London): +44 7789 936 383,

Johnson Yeung, Clean Clothes Campaign (Hong Kong): +852 6124 5154,

Nazly Sobhi Damasio, Global Labor Justice – International Labor Rights Forum,


More information:

Groups are seeking the following commitments from brands and retailers:

  • Stop sourcing cotton, yarn, textiles, and finished products from the Uyghur Region. Since cotton and yarn from the region is used to make textiles and finished goods across China and in numerous other countries, this requires brands to direct all factories that supply them with textiles and finished goods not to use cotton or yarn from the Uyghur region.
  • Cut ties with companies implicated in forced labour – those that have operations in the Uyghur region and have accepted government subsidies and/or government-supplied labour at these operations. Examples include: Hong Kong-based Esquel Group and Chinese companies based outside of the Uyghur Region, such as Huafu Fashion Co., Lu Thai Textile Co., Jinsheng Group (parent company of Litai Textiles/Xingshi), Youngor Group, and Shandong Ruyi Technology Group Co.
  • Prohibit any supplier factories located outside of the Uyghur Region from using Uyghurs or Turkic or Muslim workers supplied through the Chinese government’s forced labour transfer scheme.
  • Note: Taking the actions listed above does not preclude brands from sourcing clothing from elsewhere in China, as long as cotton or yarn from the Uyghur Region is not used to make the clothing and as long as suppliers are not using forced Uyghur and other Turkic and Muslim labour.

Virtually the entire apparel industry is tainted by forced Uyghur and Turkic Muslim labour. Credible investigations and reports by the Associated Press, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Axios, Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Global Legal Action Network, and the Wall Street Journal have linked the following apparel brands and retailers to specific cases of Uyghur forced labour:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • adidas
  • Amazon
  • Badger Sport (Founder Sport Group)
  • C&A (Cofra Holding AG)
  • Calvin Klein (PVH)
  • Carter’s
  • Cerruti 1881 (Trinity Limited)
  • Costco
  • Cotton On
  • Dangerfield (Factory X Pty Ltd)
  • Esprit (Esprit Holdings Ltd.)
  • Fila (FILA KOREA Ltd)
  • Gap
  • H&M
  • Hart Schaffner Marx (Authentic Brands Group)
  • Ikea (Inter IKEA Systems B.V.)
  • Jack & Jones (Bestseller)
  • Jeanswest (Harbour Guidance Pty Ltd)
  • L.L.Bean
  • Lacoste (Maus Freres)
  • Li-Ning
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Mayor
  • Muji (Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd.)
  • Nike
  • Patagonia
  • Polo Ralph Lauren (Ralph Lauren Corporation)
  • Puma
  • Skechers
  • Summit Resource International (Caterpillar)
  • Target Australia (Wesfarmers)
  • Tommy Hilfiger (PVH)
  • Uniqlo (Fast Retailing)
  • Victoria’s Secret (L Brands)
  • Woolworths (Woolworth Corporation, LLC.)
  • Zara (Inditex)
  • Zegna



For immediate release: June 24th, 2020

Contact: Nazly Sobhi Damasio,

Four Major Civil Society Groups Release Dispute Resolution System and Model Arbitration Clauses for Disputes Arising Under Enforceable Brand Agreements

Today, four major civil society groups released a model dispute resolution system, focused on model arbitration clauses, for disputes on labor standards in supply-chain operations. The Clean Clothes Campaign, Global Labor Justice, International Labor Rights Forum, and Worker Rights Consortium issued their Model Arbitration Clauses for the Resolution of Disputes under Enforceable Brand Agreements to make firms’ agreements with unions and other worker advocates binding and enforceable.

With the seismic shocks to economic security and public health caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, enforceable brand agreements are an important avenue for maintaining ongoing employment, and transforming the economy through structural change for redistribution in supply chains.  Witness the millions of apparel workers laid off due to global brands’ cancelled orders and left with no savings or social protection.

Drafted by a team of international labor and human rights arbitration experts, the model clauses respond to experiences under the Bangladesh Accord, an agreement on fire and building safety in garment-producing workplaces in that country that followed the horrific 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza factory, which killed more than 1,100 workers and left hundreds more permanently injured.

The Accord is one of several initiatives pioneering a surge in enforceable brand agreements. They represent a growing trend in new standards for transparent and enforceable corporate accountability agreements between global brands and unions.  The Model Arbitration Clauses provide a template for more cost-effective dispute resolution approaches that can be included in these agreements, saving time and resources for employers and unions alike.

Designed for direct incorporation into enforceable brand agreements, the Model Arbitration Clauses for the Resolution of Disputes under Enforceable Brand Agreements, advance a streamlined arbitration system with a rapid timeline that protects impartiality and due process while avoiding excessive litigiousness, promoting transparency, alleviating burdensome costs, and providing final and binding enforcement. Led by international law and labor law scholars, Lance Compa and Katerina Yiannibas, the Clauses draw from leading international arbitration rules and existing supply-chain agreements negotiated by trade unions, labor rights NGOs and brands.

ILRF director Judy Gearhart said, “These model clauses provide a new template for enforceable brand agreements. They’re meant for use by companies, unions, and civil society labor advocates who negotiate agreements on labor conditions in supply chains. This arbitration system provides a streamlined, cost-effective method for neutral decision-making when workers claim violation of rights and standards under agreements between brands and labor advocates.”

WRC General Counsel Ben Hensler said, “This model arbitration language highlights a key aspect of how enforceable supply chain agreements between brands and unions differ sharply from corporate codes of conduct and other unilateral, voluntary schemes that overly depend on company goodwill without giving workers and their representatives an equal voice and equal oversight in their implementation. This is an important step forward in the further development of binding and enforceable agreements on supply-chain labor rights standards.”

GLJ director JJ Rosenbaum said, “Labor stakeholders and brand representatives can incorporate this model language into their agreements. Alternatively, they can use this language as a starting point for negotiating an arbitration clause tailored to the specific features of their relationship, such as their economic sector, product line, pricing structures, locations of brand headquarters and supply-chain workplaces, composition of the parties on each side of the negotiating table, and other considerations.”

CCC coordinator Ineke Zeldenrust said, “While such agreements typically involve international supply-chain relationships, these clauses could be adapted to a domestic supply-chain system, to framework agreements between global unions and multinational companies, to ‘fair trade’ agreements between advocacy organizations and firms that promote a fair-trade brand, and other types of agreements involving worker rights supporters and companies committed to respecting international labor standards.”

The Model Clauses document is available at the website of each of the sponsoring organizations: Clean Clothes Campaign, Global Labor Justice, International Labor Rights Forum, and Worker Rights Consortium.







CONTACT: Nazly Sobhi Damasio,

On the First Anniversary of ILO Convention C190 Report Calls for an to End to Gender Based Violence and Harassment on Fast Fashion Supply Chains 

A report published today by Global Labor Justice, titled, Advancing Gender Justice on Asian Fast Fashion Supply Chains Post COVID-19: Learning from ILO’s Convention 190 on its First Anniversary, reviews the gendered impact of COVID-19—and the need for a transformational approach to prevent and end gender based violence & harassment. At the first anniversary of its adoption, the report shows how ILO Convention C190 gives direction to the responses brands, employers, and governments should be taking in the context of Asian fast fashion supply chains, which produce primarily consumer apparel and footwear.

You can read the report here.

Shikha Silliman Bhattacharjee, Research Director for Global Labor Justice says, “Women workers have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout. The groundbreaking legal standards in Convention 190 provide a mechanism to respond to the global crisis at work by recognizing practices that result in economic harm as a form of violence and advancing a gender-sensitive approach to addressing violence in the work of work, including by addressing risks associated with discrimination, unequal relationships of power, and occupational health and safety.”

On the first anniversary of the ILO’s adoption of C190 and its accompanying recommendation, we are grappling with catastrophic shocks to economic security, public health, and freedom of association and assembly caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. This report is focused on the fact that women workers have been disproportionately affected by this crisis and utilizes a gender lens to examine worker issues— a perspective that has been absent from major employer and government responses.

The report provides detailed guidance to fast fashion brands on the steps they can take to uphold C190 and address violence on garment supply chains in context of the global public health crisis and the economic shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While this report focuses on fast fashion supply chains, the guidance for corporate accountability to achieve violence free workplaces provides an important roadmap across global supply chain sectors.

JJ Rosenbaum, U.S. Director for Global Labor Justice says, “As we move towards a new reality, all eyes will be on the fast fashion industry — and we will continue to push for systemic change to create a new era where exploitation is abolished and all workers on the global garment supply chain are paid a living wage, their right to freedom of association is respected, and workplaces are free from gender based violence and harassment to ensure justice for all workers in the global economy.”

Women workers and trade union leaders are rising to meet the challenges posed by C190 in the COVID-19 context, leading demands for accountability and gender justice. On fast fashion supply chains, women workers, trade unionists, and leaders have called for brands to end the economic violence facing women workers by paying in full for orders completed and in production; and supply chain relief contributions (SRCs) to compensate for the income loss resulting from suspension of work for various reasons, including quarantine and order cancellation. Now, more than ever, we need to advance C190 protections for women workers who are identifying and addressing GBVH at work.



Global Labor Justice is a new strategy hub supporting transnational collaboration among worker and migrant organizations to expand labor rights and new forms of bargaining on global value chains and international labor migration corridors. Global Labor Justice works with grassroots worker and migrant organizations to promote long term change in policy and corporate practice that prevents labor exploitation leading up to and including modern day slavery and promotes innovative accountability structures that respond to the increasingly globalized economy.


For immediate release: April 22nd, 2020

Contact: Nazly Sobhi Damasio,

Garment Brands Must be Financially Responsible for Garment Workers in Global Supply Chains During the COVID-19 Humanitarian Crisis

In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, many global garment brands have cancelled or postponed orders, placing the responsibility on suppliers and leading to millions of garment workers in global supply chains to be laid off or suspended indefinitely, most of whom are women. As is, garment workers in global supply chains are some of the most economically impacted workers in the global economy, working high risk poverty wage jobs who are not afforded social protections or paid leave whatsoever. The COVID-19 crisis has only further exacerbated this reality, and exposed garment workers and their families to face enormous economic, labor and human rights issues and without recourse to access their most basic needs including food, healthcare, or lost wages.

This week, Asia Floor Wage Alliance website (AFWA) released a specific income relief demand relief referred as the Supply Chain Relief Contribution (SRC) through which global garment brands financial responsibility for garment workers in global supply chains.  The SRC Contribution isa one-time brand supply chain contribution calculated at an  additional 2% of the total annual sourcing by the brand from the preceding 12 months at each respective factory towards immediate relief paid through suppliers to workers in a way that maintains the employment relationships. The SRC contribution would partially mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on supply chain workers and is fundamental as existing wages are so low workers do not have savings to cover the COVID-19 loss of income.

The SRC is a relief contribution and in no way substitutes brands’ existing and ongoing supply chain obligations to pay for orders given and produced, to not cancel orders, to not seek discounts in an already under-costed supply chain, and to act accountability in relation to any future cases of downsizing, retrenchment and closure.

“Brands must immediately contribute directly to income relief for garment workers and it should be paid through suppliers to protect continuity of the employment relationship.  Up to now, wages have been so consistently low that garment workers are not able to bear the months of unpaid work without risk to health and wellbeing for themselves and their families.  Fast Fashion global supply chains must also be transformed to ensure living wages and a social contract for all workers. GLJ supports Asia Floor Wage Alliance in their demands on brands and suppliers in global garment supply chains to implement the above mentioned steps to help partially offset the economic and humanitarian impact of the COVID-19 crisis on garment workers in global supply chains,” says Jennifer (JJ) Rosenbaum, U.S. Director of Global Labor Justice website

GLJ also urges brands and suppliers to join with AFWA and its member unions and allies in respective countries to work together with suppliers to ensure that the Supply-Chain Relief Contribution and any additional government relief programs reach all eligible workers with a co-enforcement mechanism.

You can read the AFWA note on SRC Contribution in full AFWA note on SRC Contribution in full


CONTACT: Nazly Sobhi Damasio,

#GarmentMeToo Campaign Launches Report on Gender Justice on Garment Global Supply Chains An Agenda to Transform Fast-Fashion: Recommendations for the ILO and Garment Brands

As negotiations are underway this week at the International Labor Organization in Geneva to create a global standard on women’s labor rights, Global Labor Justice (GLJ) and the Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) released a new report today titled, “Gender Justice on Garment Global Supply Chains: An Agenda to Transform Fast-Fashion”, as a follow up to the #GarmentMeToo campaign that they launched last month.

This new report provides a clear road map for fast fashion brands on how to end gender based violence and harassment (GBVH) on garment production lines, along with a set of recommendations to the ILO. The recommendations are centered around low wage workers on global supply chains with key information about AFWA’s Safe Circle Approach  a transformative approach to GBVH prevention that integrates key components of a corporate accountability approach.  

“Women workers organized to make gender based violence and harassment a priority for the ILO and the labor and human rights movement, said Jennifer (JJ) Rosenbaum of Global Labor Justice.  “An ILO Convention and Recommendation are only the beginning- ending violence and harassment on the shop floor and across supply chains requires innovative collaborations like the “Safe Circles Approach” with roles for brands, suppliers, and unions.“

AFWA’s safe circle approach was designed by the AFWA Women’s Leadership Committee in partnership with women workers on production lines and their trade unions, supplier factories and brands. It was created in response to GBVH in garment factories to develop and sustain a positive organizational culture on garment production lines.

“The research is clear: GBVH continues on garment global supply chains and current approaches are not working,” says Elly Rosita Silaban, a member of the Asia Floor Wage Alliance Women’s Leadership Committee (AFWA-WLC). “Multinational garment brands that drive the industry stand at a critical crossroads: will they use the Safe Circles Strategy as a new tool to root out GBVH, production line by production line? Or will they continue with a business model that relies on gender based violence and harassment for the sake of cheap labor and higher profits?”

Anannya Bhattacharjee, International Coordinator of Asia Floor Wage Alliance says, “When women workers in low-wage  jobs speak up, they face immediate retaliation and backlash. If fast fashion brands are serious about preventing GBVH on their supply chains, they should adopt the Safe Circles Approach and ensure their suppliers work, locally and regionally with the Asia Floor Wage Alliance Women’s Leadership Committee.”

Rukhmini V.P., a member of the Asia Floor Wage Alliance Women’s Leadership Committee (AFWA-WLC) says, “This report is a call to action across Asian global garment supply chains. Garment brands are generally in agreement that their internal grievance mechanisms to address GBV have not been successful, which was clearly shown in our 2018 report. Our response is for brands to adopt the Safe Circle strategies approach. This way supervisors and workers can work together to create a GBV free workplace by developing a common understanding though joint trainings.”

The #GarmentMeToo campaign builds on 2018 global supply chain research documenting gender based violence in Asian garment supply chains including H&M and Walmart. The reports documented and analyzed patterns of GBVH in Asian global garment supply chains.  The research also led to the formation of the Women’s Leadership Committee of the Asia Floor Wage including fourteen women trade union leaders across four countries organized to lead negotiations with brands aimed at collaboratively transforming cultures of impunity for gender based violence and harassment (GBVH) on garment global supply chains.

The 2018 global supply chain reports were covered by more than 50 news outlets across 17 countries, and described by The Nation as a “#MeToo Movement for the Global Fashion Industry.” Additionally, on June 5, 2018, H&M and Gap publicly declared support for a binding ILO Convention on workplace violence, including gender based violence in garment supply chains.




Global Labor Justice (GLJ) is a US based strategy hub supporting transnational collaboration among worker and migrant organizations to expand labor rights and new forms of bargaining on global value chains and international labor migration corridors.

Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA), founded in 2007, is an Asian labour-led international alliance of garment industry trade unions, labour rights organisations, consumer groups and research institutes across Asia, Europe and North America.





CONTACT: Nazly Sobhi Damasio,

New Study Exposes Empty Living Wage Promises: Global Garment Brands Get Richer While Continuing to Pay Poverty Wages

From Jennifer (JJ) Rosenbaum, U.S. Director of Global Labor Justice:

Important new research from the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) at the University of Sheffield — Corporate Commitments to Living Wage in the Garment Industry underscores what Global Labor Justice’s partner the Asia Floor Wage Alliance has evidenced through grassroots people’s tribunals in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Cambodia. Despite growing profits for corporate executives and shareholders, global garment brands are paying workers on their global supply chains — who are predominantly women — poverty wages.  This report follows groundbreaking research by SPERI Director Genevieve LeBaron on the failure of corporate audits and corporate social responsibility to improve conditions for workers in the global garment supply chain.  

The SPERI report exposes the growing practice of global garment brands who are using living wage pledges as a public relations tool without actually paying workers higher wages. Professor LeBaron concludes: “There is little evidence that corporate commitments to living wages are translating into meaningful change on the ground. As such, consumers are purchasing products they may believe are made by workers earning a living wage, when in reality, low wages continue to be the status quo across the global garment industry.”

Earlier this month, H&M shareholders voted down a shareholder resolution creating a living wage fund for excess profits so that H&M could meet its living wage commitments.  

Global Labor Justice stands with the Asia Floor Wage Alliance in its demand of brands to take responsibility and pay the difference in the supplier paid national minimum wage and the living wage calculated in order to meet the basic needs of garment workers and their families.  

Global Labor Justice challenges global garment brands to meet their human rights obligations and pay their workers a living wage. Poverty wages are a gender justice issue that impacts more than 60 million garment workers world wide, the majority who are women. Poverty wages force women to work excessive overtime in order to supplement wages as little as a third of the minimum living wage calculation, leading to health and welfare impacts for women garment workers and their families. Advancing living wages through a gendered lens is a pillar of Global Labor Justice’s campaign: Gender Justice on Garment Global Supply Chains: An Agenda to Transform Fast-Fashion.




Global Labor Justice (GLJ) is a US based strategy hub supporting transnational collaboration among worker and migrant organizations to expand labor rights and new forms of bargaining on global value chains and international labor migration corridors.





CONTACT: Nazly Sobhi Damasio,

#GarmentMeToo: Women Garment Workers Demand an End to Gender Based Violence Across the Global Garment Supply Chain

Today, Global Labor Justice and Asia Floor Wage Alliance announces the launch of a new global campaign, #GarmentMeToo. The campaign is a transformative vision of work that centers the dignity and economic security of women workers led by women trade union leaders in order to win concrete solutions and contribute to  new international labor standards and ultimately create power building roles for supplier unions, allied unions, women’s organizations, human rights organizations, and consumers in brand supplier producing and retail countries. The purpose of the campaign is to target the supply chains of garment apparel brands in order to bring brands and their suppliers to the table with supplier unions to bargain and create changes on production lines at the industrial level as well as along global supply chains.  

In the #MeToo era, women led organizing is emerging worldwide in fields, factories, and boardrooms towards the goal of gender equity and inclusion and pushing back against violence against women. At its centennial anniversary, the International Labor Organization is undertaking international standard setting on Gender Based Violence.  “Through the Garment Me Too Campaign, garment women worker leaders and their allies expose serious exploitation and then put forward innovative proposals for transformative global supply chains which create decent work, social justice, and a future of work that empowers women,” says Jennifer (JJ) Rosenbaum, U.S. Director of Global Labor Justice.

At this key moment, garment brands who have women dominated global supply chains must also act on their responsibility to improve conditions for women workers in their global supply chains in collaboration with the worker organizations that those women lead, including preventing gender-based violence and harassment.

Brands have shown time and again that they are not invested in creating economic stability and ensuring a workplace that is free from gender-based violence for their workers along their global supply chains. Corporate social responsibility programs and audits distract from the necessary structural changes that corporations need to make in order to shift pressures that require high production targets with low costs that often lead to gender-based violence.

Instead, corporations must work with and follow the lead of women-led worker organizations driving change along global garment supply chains.

Anannya Bhattacharjee, secretariat of Asia Floor Wage Alliance says,The Garment Me Too campaign spotlights the torturous gender-based violence that garment women workers face daily in supplier factories across Asia. When women workers in precarious poverty-level jobs speak up they face immediate retaliation and backlash. If fashion brands are serious about commitments to women’s empowerment they and their suppliers should work, locally and regionally, with the Asia Floor Wage Alliance Women’s Leadership Committee (AFWA-WLC) — composed of women garment worker leaders across Asia — to change conditions in the factories immediately.”

Women and trade union leaders who work on the global supply chains day in and day out know the problems — and they know the solutions to addressing the issues. Women garment workers have been organizing to bring major brands and suppliers to the table in order to create a new standard across global supply chains that demands a woman’s right to work with dignity, earn a living wage, freedom from gender based violence and the ability to join and lead worker organizations so they can provide for their families, be successful and thrive within their communities.

“Global capitalism has caused the prevalence of gender based violence that haunts women garment workers daily within brand supplier factories.  With the #GarmentMeToo campaign, women garment workers are able to fight against gender based violence and demand that brands be held responsible and improve the working conditions within their supplier factories. This campaign will help break the stigma that women are weak and not capable of fighting back against the violence they face but instead fighting to create a workplace that empowers women. It is also crucial for brands to take gender based violence cases seriously and work together with women garment workers and trade unions to find the best solutions for them,” says Sumiyati Nama, a leader within the Serikat Pekerja Nasional Workers Union in Indonesia.

Innovative leadership helmed by garment workers and trade unionists will be able to enforce strong regulations, like the proposed ILO Convention, and other regional agreements through bargaining that would reach across borders in order to tackle gender-based violence and harassment along global supply chains and promote economic stability between brands, suppliers and trade unions at the local and international level.

The women trade union leaders in the Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) that represent thousands of women garment workers in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Cambodia, with members producing clothes for H&M, Gap, Walmart, Nike and other well-known brands that global consumers continue to wear are leading organizing efforts to create these changes across global garment supply chains.




Global Labor Justice (GLJ) is a US based strategy hub supporting transnational collaboration among worker and migrant organizations to expand labor rights and new forms of bargaining on global value chains and international labor migration corridors.

Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) was officially formed in 2006 and includes more than 76 organizations, including garment industry trade unions, NGOs, consumer groups and research institutes from more than 17 countries from across Asia, Europe and North America.



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Kontak: Nazly Sobhi Damasio, 312.687.8360,

#GarmentMeToo: Buruh Garmen Perempuan Menuntut Dihentikannya Kekerasan Berbasis Gender di Seluruh Rantai Pasokan Garmen Global

Hari ini, Global Labor Justice (GLJ) dan Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) mengumumkan dimulainya kampanye global #GarmentMeToo. Kampanye ini merupakan visi transformasi kerja yang berpusat pada martabat dan jaminan ekonomi buruh/pekerja perempuan yang dipimpin oleh pemimpin perempuan serikat buruh/pekerja untuk mendapatkan solusi nyata dan sebagai bentuk sumbangsih pada standar perburuhan internasional yang baru dan terutama untuk membangun kekuatan serikat buruh/pekerja di tingkat pabrik, aliansi serikat buruh/pekerja, organisasi perempuan, organisasi hak asasi manusia, dan para konsumen di negara-negara tempat para pemilik merek memproduksi dan menjual produknya. Kampanye ini menyasar rantai pasok para pemilik merek garmen dengan tujuan membawa para pemilik merek dan suplier duduk satu meja dengan serikat buruh/pekerja di tingkat pabrik untuk merundingkan dan menciptakan perubahan di lini produksi pada tingkat sektor industri dan juga di sepanjang rantai pasokan global.

Pada masa gerakan #MeToo, pengorganisasian yang dipimpin perempuan muncul secara luas di seluruh dunia di lapangan, di pabrik, dan di ruang dewan direksi untuk mencapai tujuan keadilan gender dan inklusi dan melawan kekerasan terhadap perempuan. Pada peringatan 100 tahun berdirinya organisasi perburuhan internasional ILO, organisasi ini berupaya menetapkan standar internasional mengenai Kekerasan Berbasis Gender. “Melalui Kampanye ‘Garment Me Too’ ini, pemimpin perempuan buruh/pekerja garmen dan organisasi aliansinya mengungkapkan betapa seriusnya praktik penghisapan yang terjadi dan mengajukan usulan-usulan perubahan yang inovatif pada rantai pasok global untuk mencapai kerja layak, keadilan sosial, dan praktik kerja di masa depan yang memajukan perempuan,” kata Jennifer (JJ) Rosenbaum, Direktur Global Labor Justice di Amerika.

Pada peristiwa penting ini, para pemilik merek garmen dimana rantai pasokannya didominasi oleh perempuan, harus mengambil tindakan sebagai bentuk tanggung jawabnya untuk memperbaiki kondisi kerja perempuan yang berada di rantai pasok mereka dengan bekerja bersama organisasi pekerja yang dipimpin oleh perempuan, termasuk untuk mencegah kekerasan dan pelecehan berbasis gender.

Para pemilik merek telah memperlihatkan berulang kali bahwa mereka tidak melakukan investasi yang menciptakan stabilitas ekonomi dan kepastian tempat kerja yang bebas dari kekerasan berbasis gender bagi para buruh/pekerjanya di sepanjang rantai pasokan mereka. Program tanggung jawab sosial perusahaan dan audit mengalihkan persoalan mengenai pentingnya dilakukan perubahan struktural oleh perusahaan untuk mengubah tekanan target produksi yang tinggi dan biaya produksi yang rendah yang seringkali mengakibatkan kekerasan berbasis gender. Seharusnya, perusahaan bekerjasama dan mengikuti arahan pemimpin serikat buruh/pekerja perempuan untuk mendorong terjadinya perubahan di rantai pasok garmen global.

Anannya Bhattacharjee dari sekretariat Asia Floor Wage Alliance mengatakan, “Kampanye Garment Me Too menyoroti kekerasan berbasis gender yang menyiksa buruh/pekerja garmen perempuan di pabrik-pabrik setiap hari. Ketika buruh/pekerja garmen yang menjalani pekerjaan yang terus memiskinkan mereka bersuara, mereka mengalami tindakan balas dendam dan serangan balik. Jika para pemilik brand fashion serius mengenai komitmen untuk memajukan perempuan, mereka dan para supliernya harus bekerja di tingkat lokal dan regional dengan Komite Pemimpin Perempuan AFWA – yang terdiri dari pemimpin pekerja perempuan di Asia – untuk mengubah kondisi di pabrik dengan segera.”

Perempuan dan pemimpin serikat buruh/pekerja yang berada di rantai pasokan global setiap hari mengetahui persoalan yang terjadi di tempat kerjanya–dan mereka tahu solusi untuk menyelesaikan persoalan tersebut. Buruh/pekerja garmen perempuan telah mengorganisir diri untuk membawa para pemilik merek dan suplier ke meja perundingan untuk merumuskan standar baru yang memastikan hak perempuan untuk bekerja secara bermartabat, mendapatkan upah secara layak, terbebas dari kekerasan berbasis gender dan memampukan perempuan untuk bergabung dan memimpin organisasi buruh/pekerja sehingga mereka dapat menghidupi keluarganya, menjadi orang yang berhasil dan terus maju di masyarakat.

“Kapitalisme global telah mengakibatkan semakin masifnya kekerasan berbasis gender yang menghantui buruh/pekerja garmen perempuan setiap hari di pabrik-pabrik yang memproduksi barang untuk para pemilik merek. Melalui kampanye #GarmentMeToo, buruh/pekerja garmen perempuan dapat melawan kekerasan berbasis gender dan menuntut para pemilik merek untuk bertanggung jawab dan memperbaiki kondisi kerja di pabrik-pabrik supliernya. Kampanye ini dapat memutus stigma bahwa perempuan lemah dan tidak mampu untuk melawan kekerasan yang mereka alami dan melakukan perlawanan untuk menciptakan tempat kerja yang memajukan perempuan. Penting bagi para pemilik merek untuk memberikan perhatian serius pada kasus-kasus kekerasan berbasis gender dan bekerja bersama buruh perempuan dan serikat buruh/pekerja untuk mencari solusi terbaik bagi mereka,” jelas Sumiyati dari DPP Serikat Pekerja Nasional di Indonesia.

Kepemimpinan yang inovatif oleh buruh/pekerja garmen dan pemimpin serikat akan dapat menegakkan peraturan yang kuat, seperti Konvensi ILO yang diusulkan, dan perjanjian regional lainnya melalui perundingan yang dapat menembus lintas batas untuk menyelesaikan persoalan kekerasan dan pelecehan berbasis gender di sepanjang rantai pasokan dan memajukan stabilitas ekonomi di antara para pemilik brand, suplier, dan serikat buruh/pekerja di tingkat lokal dan internasional.

Para perempuan pemimpin serikat pekerja di AFWA yang mewakili ribuan buruh garmen di India, Srilangka, Indonesia dan Kamboja yang memproduksi pakaian untuk H&M, Gap, Walmart, Nike dan merek-merek terkenal lainnya yang digunakan oleh konsumen global, memimpin upaya pengorganisasian untuk menciptakan perubahan-perubahan ini di sepanjang rantai pasokan garmen global.




Global Labor Justice (GLJ) adalah Jaringan strategis di Amerika yang memberikan dukungan pada kerjasama transnasional antar buruh dan organisasi migran untuk memajukan hak buruh dan bentuk-bentuk perundingan baru di rantai pasok global dan koridor migrasi pekerja internasional (

Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) secara resmi terbentuk pada 2006 yang beranggotakan lebih dari 76 organisasi dari serikat buruh/pekerja garmen, NGO, kelompok konsumen dan lembaga penelitian dari 17 negara di Asia, Eropa dan Amerika Utara.





CONTACTO: Nazly Sobhi Damasio,

Voces de las Trabajadoras de la Cadena de Suministro de Prendas de Vestir de Walmart en Asia: Un Informe Sobre la Violencia de Género a la Organización Internacional del Trabajo de 2018

Una coalición mundial de sindicatos, organizaciones de derechos laborales y organizaciones de derechos humanos, que incluye Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA), CENTRAL Camboya y Global Labor Justice publicaron un innovador informe de investigación a nivel de fábrica que detalla la violencia de género en la cadena de suministro de prendas asiáticas de Walmart. y también piden que Walmart tome medidas inmediatas para poner fin a la violencia y el acoso que las trabajadoras de la confección se ven obligadas a soportar a diario.

Después de una importante iniciativa de los sindicatos, la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT) se reunirá para establecer normas internacionales del trabajo sobre la violencia de género. Los líderes sindicales de todo el mundo junto con los gobiernos y las empresas se reunirán para analizar la oportunidad histórica de crear un estándar global que proteja a las mujeres en todos los sectores. Este informe ha sido preparado para informar este diálogo y garantizar que la experiencia y las recomendaciones de las trabajadoras de bajos ingresos y los sectores y cadenas de suministro que dependen de ellas se eleven para crear un marco sólido guiado por el liderazgo de los sindicatos y los trabajadores. organizaciones que proporcionarán a los empleadores, las empresas multinacionales y los gobiernos un plan para eliminar la violencia de género en el lugar de trabajo.

El informe incluye una investigación sobre la violencia de género en las fábricas proveedoras de ropa de Walmart realizadas entre enero de 2018 y mayo de 2018 en Dhaka, Bangladesh, Phnom Penh, Camboya; y West Java, Indonesia. La investigación busca comprender el espectro de la violencia de género y los factores de riesgo asociados; y utilizar esta información para abordar la violencia de género a través de un enfoque continuo que incorpora capacitación sobre violencia en el lugar de trabajo, así como la promoción a nivel nacional e internacional. El informe se basa en un informe de 2016 que documenta las violaciones de derechos humanos en la cadena de suministro global de prendas de vestir de Walmart y en cinco tribunales celebrados por Asia Floor Wage en el sector en general.

Las trabajadoras denunciaron acoso sexual y violencia; y prácticas de disciplina industrial, incluida la violencia física, el abuso verbal, la coacción, las amenazas y las represalias, y las privaciones de libertad de rutina, incluidas las horas extraordinarias forzadas. Estos no son incidentes aislados, la violencia de género en las cadenas de suministro de prendas de vestir de Walmart es un resultado directo de cómo Walmart realiza negocios.

Sulatana, una ex gerente de línea de producción en una fábrica de proveedores de Walmart en Dhaka, Bangladesh, comparte su experiencia con el acoso sexual y las represalias:

“Él coqueteaba conmigo, me tocaba en el hombro o me tocaba la cabeza”. Traté de ignorarlo. Pensé que si no mostraba interés, él se detendría. No funcionó. Me ofreció un aumento salarial y una promoción si aceptaba. Cuando no lo hice, amenazó con despedirme. Estaba ansioso y asustado. Me salteé el trabajo al día siguiente … La policía se negó a recibir mi queja porque no tenía pruebas auténticas. Unos días más tarde, . . . el gerente general me llevó a su oficina y me pidió que renunciara de inmediato. Cuando me acerqué a Recursos Humanos, me dijeron que la decisión del Gerente General era definitiva “.

Shahida, una operadora de máquinas de coser de 26 años de edad, en una fábrica de Walmart en Dhaka, Bangladesh, detalla la experiencia específica de las mujeres trabajadoras del abuso verbal para evitar que se les paguen beneficios en el lugar de trabajo:

“Comencé a trabajar en esta fábrica en abril de 2013. Obtuve una buena reputación como trabajador calificado y dedicado. El jefe de línea y el supervisor estaban contentos con mi trabajo. Después de completar mi cuarto año en la fábrica, cambiaron su actitud hacia mí. Me gritaron y me intimidaron. Me llamaron nombres. Informé esto al gerente de la fábrica, pero él respondió elevando mis objetivos de producción. No podría lograr trabajar de esta manera. En marzo de 2018, antes de cumplir mi quinto año, dejé el trabajo. Era exactamente lo que querían. Renuncié y no me pagaron la propina que había ganado porque me dijeron que había renunciado al trabajo yo mismo “.

Una trabajadora de una antigua fábrica proveedora de Walmart en Kingsland Garment, Yakarta, Indonesia, describe el impacto físico de trabajar muchas horas sentado en una fábrica mal ventilada:

“En el trabajo, tengo problemas estomacales, de digestión y de nariz debido a largas horas trabajando tanto tiempo extra y trabajando tantos días. Pero a veces solo tengo que olvidar mi enfermedad porque no tengo dinero. Tengo que ser el rock en la familia “.

Anannya Bhattacharjee, coordinadora internacional de AFWA, dice: “Walmart, la creadora de tendencias para la gestión de la cadena de suministro ajustada se basa en la explotación basada en el género de las trabajadoras en sus cadenas de suministro para maximizar sus ganancias. Para eliminar la violencia de género en las cadenas de suministro, Walmart y otras marcas deben asumir la responsabilidad en sus cadenas de suministro. También es fundamental que Walmart y otras marcas respeten la libertad de asociación y la negociación colectiva que permiten a las mujeres trabajadoras ser agentes de cambio en la economía global.

“El movimiento por la dignidad y la equidad en el trabajo para todas las mujeres es global”, dice Jennifer (JJ) Rosenbaum, directora de Global Labor Justice en los Estados Unidos. “Las mujeres en los EE. UU. No deberían dejar de responsabilizar a las corporaciones de Walmart y los Estados Unidos por lo que sucede en sus tiendas y bodegas de los EE. UU. También debemos exigir responsabilidad a lo largo de sus redes de producción global “.

Tola Meun, Directora Ejecutiva de CENTRAL dice: “La violencia de género es una realidad cotidiana para las trabajadoras de la confección, orientadas a cumplir objetivos de producción poco realistas en las cadenas de suministro de Walmart. La mayoría de estos casos no se informan por temor a represalias en el lugar de trabajo “.

En respuesta a los informes, el Women’s Leadership Committee de Asia Floor Wage Alliance está solicitando a Walmart tres pasos de acción inmediatos:

  1. Apoyar públicamente y comprometerse a implementar de manera proactiva una Recomendación de la Convención de la OIT sobre Violencia de Género que incluya las recomendaciones de Asia Floor Wage Alliance y sus socios.
  2. Reunirse con la (s) reunión (es) regional (es) de Asia organizada por el Comité de Liderazgo Femenino Salarial de Asia en los próximos tres meses para analizar los hallazgos de la cadena de suministros y los próximos pasos.
  3. Trabajar proactivamente con Asia Floor Wage Alliance para llevar a cabo comités de mujeres en fábricas que eliminen la violencia de género y la discriminación de las fábricas proveedoras.