Labor Rights in the Garment Industry

The US$2.4 trillion garment and footwear industry, employs millions of workers worldwide. Clothes and shoes produced in countries in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe or other parts find their way into the clothes racks in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australia. Labor abuses in factories that produce these clothes and shoes are rife. In countries around the world, factory owners and managers often fire pregnant workers or deny maternity leave; retaliate against workers who join or form unions; force workers to do overtime work or risk losing their job; and turn a blind eye when male managers or workers sexually harass female workers. Human Rights Watch researches and advocates for the rights of workers by exposing the failures of the governments of countries where these factories are located and scrutinizing corporate accountability practices of global apparel and footwear brands.