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H&M: Violations of Labor Rights in Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, and Cambodia

A German TV program entitled “Your Cheap Fashion – Our Misery” [1] has reportedly featured H&M’s links to child labour and labour exploitation in Uzbekistan and Bangladesh. According to the report, young 12 year old children work up to 14 hours a day in factories for miserably low wages to supply H&M, which offers its products with slogans like “fashion and quality at the best prices.” It is also worth mentioning that the allegedly authoritarian Uzbekistan government makes huge profits from cotton export.[2]

Along with several other major clothing makers, H&M has been criticised for how they treat workers in Cambodia, where hundreds of employees at a plant run by a supplier of the Swedish fashion giant mysteriously passed out in August.[3] On top of this, H&M declared that they no longer use sandblasting to fade their jeans products. However, a new report reveals that regardless of whether a brand has ‘banned’ sandblasting or not, both manual and mechanical sandblasting is still commonly used.[4] Sandblasting has been proven to cause fatal lung diseases, including silicosis.