The garment industry is one of the oldest and largest export industries. The industry exemplifies the challenges associated with global manufacturing: low wages, “flexible” contracts and sweatshop conditions. Informal garment and textile workers often experience isolation, invisibility and lack of power, especially those who produce from their homes.1
According to the Norwegian Government Pension Fund’s Council of Ethics, investigations into textile companies’ operations have found violations, the most serious of which include “cases of hazardous work being carried out by young employees and cases of child labour. Discrimination, mandatory overtime, unlawful short-term contracts, illegal pay deductions and measures implemented by the factory management to prevent workers from joining trade unions are more common.”2
For the above reasons, the textile and garment industry is a very sensitive sector and has a risk of human rights violations, either in companies’ direct operations or (most often) in supply chains.