ImpACT International for Human Rights Policies criticized Zara, one of the largest fashion retailers in the world, for its slave-like conditions of its labor force.
In a recent report by the London-based human rights think-tank, ImpACT International said that with around 3000 stores spread across 96 different countries, Zara faces severe accusations of ‘slave labor’ conditions in its factories across countries mainly in Spain, Brazil, Argentina and Myanmar.
“Over the past few months, many more fast fashion shoppers have come to realize the true harm that their shopping addiction has on the workers producing these items of clothing.”
Thus, a large-scale boycott campaign was launched against Zara factories for their extremely harsh working conditions, especially in East Asia.
The world brand has also been accused of involvement in slave and child labor in South America.
The report indicated that in 2011, a group of workers – 14 Bolivians and one Peruvian – were rescued from an unlicensed factory in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where clothes carrying the Zara label were being produced.
One of the immigrant workers was reported to be just 14. He lived in dangerous and unhygienic conditions and was forced to work 12-hour shifts for between £95 and £176 a month.
ImpACT also highlighted that workers in Brazil had their freedom of movement restricted and have been forced to work in cramped workshops in the city of Sau Paolo.
Moreover, in China’s Xinjiang province, workers were subjected to poor living and labor conditions, physical and mental abuse and forced sterilization for Uighur women.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zara employees in the Myanmar factories had been hit extremely hard for demanding face masks.
Judicial actions were taken against the world’s leading brand for neglecting its workers’ rights in exchange for lower production costs and increased sales.
ImpACT’s report revealed that Zara and other fashions brands had been systematically violating employees right to transparency. “Brands may present an acceptable amount of information about their policies, yet continue to act in an unethical manner, which in due time has seen to harm employees working under their supply chains.” Furthermore, these fast-fashion brands do not inform customers about the mistreatment workers have been facing behind the scenes.