Beyonce: Bangladesh Factory Labor Violations for H&M: Could she do more?
Super star Beyonce has made news again but this time it isn’t for her luminous voice; this time it’s for her involvement with H&M. In a recent discovery H&M has been using abroad manufactures that are in violation of labor laws. The new mom, who is on tour, her own manager, still a new wife, and in recent news fearing a stalker is receiving a lot of back lash for agreeing to be the face of H&M’s Summer 2013 Campaign; some have even gone on to say she doesn’t care about poor people; which is obviously opposite from fact because she agreed to do a budget summer line. I think people are taking their freedom of speech too far! Instead of attacking a “singer” that was paid to just be the face for an ad that consisted of one commercial and one or two photo shoots; could it be that she just didn’t look into it? It is said that the H&M Swedish Manufacture they partner with, uses a South East Asian factory that has some of the worst working conditions ever! There has been reported raping, beatings, child labor, sun up to sun down working conditions, and hundreds of tired malnourished people faint everyday from from being exposed to these horrific working conditions. Although I would encourage Beyonce to step forward and use her influence to help this situation; she also has a full life and may not have researched the H&M Campaign and thought of it as a great business venture. Who’s really to blame for this ordeal? Beyonce? Who is just the messenger in this scenario; or the people at H&M? The entire company needs to be at fault, from the CEO on down, not a singer that had nothing to do with where the clothing was manufactured.
By: Akika Parker
Beyonce is the face of H&M, a Swedish clothing manufacturer with a checkered record in their use of Southeast Asian sweatshops — and the inhumane labor conditions that go on there.
Cambodian factory worker Srey Nit told this week’s edition of Star about the grueling pace workers must keep in producing goods like the ones the Irreplaceable singer promotes for H&M.
“Sometimes we are required to work from morning to morning,” said Nit, 22. “They say, ‘We are in a hurry.’”
Director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights Charles Kernaghan told Star that working conditions at two H&M factories he’d audited in Bangladesh were “ridiculous,” and some of the worst he’s ever seen. (Last month, a factory collapse there left 1,127 people dead.)
“There was child labor, people were being beaten, cheated of their wages — and wages were very, very low,” Kernaghan said. (Swedish investigative program Kalla Fakta estimated average monthly wages at $61.)
Equally mortifying, according to Kernaghan, was the rampant sexual harassment going on in the sweatshops, as “male supervisors would constantly press young women to have sex with them.”
Clean Clothes Campaign coordinator Christa Luginbühl said H&M is contradictory in it’s claims their wares “are made with responsibility for people and environment.
“Hundreds of overworked and malnourished workers faint during their daily work,” Luginbühl told Star, adding, “A fashion collection cannot be ‘conscious,’ ‘sustainable,’ or ‘responsible’ if a producer denies garment workers the basic human right for a living wage.”
The Houston-born stunner, who signed a multi-million dollar endorsement pact with H&M, should have used her influence to try and reform within the dysfunctional, dangerous garment industry, according to Fair Trade Campaigns Director for Green America Elizabeth O’Connell.
“Beyoncé has more power than she knows … she could have agreed to continue only if H&M agreed to change the working conditions of its overseas garment factories,” O’Connell said. “Celebrities should look past the dollar signs and become aware of what the company is actually selling.”
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