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Garment Factories

The garment factories of Bangladesh, known for their cheap labour and unsafe working conditions usually only come into the media spotlight when disaster strikes, and then are quickly forgotten again until the next tragedy makes for saleable headlines. Scattered all over the capital city of Dhaka are many large and small factories where all kinds of clothing is being made for worldwide distribution.

Not far from the city centre and down a maze of alleys are a group of nondescript buildings which contain a few of these clothing factories. Walking up the narrow staircases revealed room after room of people sitting at sewing machines or cutting fabric. Many of these seemed like smaller production facilities that were possibly making clothing for Chinese export or the local population, although it was difficult to be certain.

The factories were often hot and cramped and seemed to employ both men and women. There were some children there as well that were either accompanying their parents or also working.

After short and sometimes tense visits to several of these garment factories, it was apparent that the working conditions are clearly not what would pass any sort of Western standards, and real hazards exist, such as the tragic Rana Plaza collapse in 2013. The alternative of not working at all in a place like Bangladesh however, can lead to truly desperate poverty. 

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