Colombo (AsiaNews) – In Jordan, young female workers employed in a garment factory have been the victims of rape, sexual abuse and torture on regular basis, this according to a report titled “Sexual predators and serial rapists run wild at Wal-Mart supplier in Jordan” by the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.
The document notes that the Sri Lankan Foreign Employment Bureau has received 300 complaints, all against the factory’s general manager, Anil Santha, who is also Sri Lankan. But he was not alone. “Women who refuse the sexual advances of Classic's managers are also beaten and deported”. What is more, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Labour was aware of the sexual abuse as early as 2007, but did nothing.
Classic Fashion, the company involved, is Jordan’s largest garment export factory and a major supplier for clothing stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Macy’s and Hanes.
“One Bangladeshi worker recently deported from the Classic factory said that, ‘all the workers of Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh . . . everybody will testify that this particular manager raped the Sri Lankan women,” the report quotes her as saying.
In October 2010, 2,400 Sri Lankan and Indian workers went on strike demanding the removal of the alleged rapist. Classic's owner sent this particular manager away, but he returned after one month.
“On the weekly holiday, the alleged serial rapist [. . .] sends a van to bring four or five young women to his hotel, where he abuses them,” witnesses said.
In addition to regular insults and injury, the women are also short-changed of their wages if they fail to meet mandatory production goals. Thus, on average, they end up earning “a take-home wage of just 61 cents an hour.”
With a standard shift of 13 hours a day, six days a week, managers are said to abuse workers to push them to work even faster.