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Another Young Woman Disappeared at the Classic Factory in Jordan Sewing Jeans for Wal-Mart

August, 15 2012 Share

Workers fear that 20-year-old Ms. Nazma may have been kidnapped, raped and either murdered or sold into the sex trade.  Nazma disappeared on Wednesday morning, August 8, and has not been heard from since.  She sewed blue jeans for Wal-Mart.

We urge that the elite Jordanian police Office to Combat Human Trafficking launch an immediate investigation into the disappearances of young women guest workers at the Classic factory.

Over 5,000 young women guest workers from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India work at the Classic sweatshop in the Al Hassan Industrial Zone in northern Jordan.  Classic has a strict policy not to hire male workers.  Wal-Mart and Hanes clothing sewn at Classic enter the U.S. duty-free.

On August 8, the day Ms. Nazma disappeared, a Bangladeshi manager at Classic, Mr. Rafiqul Islam, was seen breaking into the missing woman's locker in her dorm and confiscating her belongings.  Often the young women hide their wages in their lockers.

In the past, Rafiq Islam and several other Classic managers have been accused of rape and sexual abuse of dozens of young women guest workers from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Nazma, a 20-year-old guest worker from Bangladesh, sewed jeans for Wal-Mart at the Classic Fashion factory in Jordan. She disappeared on August 8.

Mr. Sanal Kumar, the Indian owner of Classic, immediately returned to Jordan.

The women went on strike for four days starting on Thursday, August 9, demanding the return of their co-worker, Nazma.

Nazma's mother back in Bangladesh, Ms. Nargis, is begging for help, that someone please find her daughter.  She last spoke with Nazma by phone on July 28.  Nazma was telling her mother that she has been saving all her wages over the last two years so they could soon move out of the slum where they live and into a better place.

Nazma was described by several of the women we spoke with at Classic as being very religious and devout.  She did not have a boyfriend and never left the factory compound alone.  The women also said Nazma was very beautiful.

 

One woman told us: 

"We came here to work to have a decent income and a better life, but our lives are at serious risk.  We women workers feel insecure in Jordan, as our co-workers are being kidnapped, raped and killed.... We are pushed to the wall and we had to protest the disappearance of our colleague... In the last two years at least 25 women workers have been forcibly disappeared from the Classic factory.  When we ask why the women are disappearing, Rafiq and Faruk [Classic manager Faruk Miah] tell us those workers ran away from the factory and have become illegals.  We do not trust these managers because they are liars.  Another manager, Mr. Haitem, works hand in hand with Faruk and Rafiq, and an Indian manager, Mr. Naygam.  There are no Bengali male workers at Classic.  The absence of our male workers weakens our struggle.  The company is threatening us.  If we don't return to work, they will deport us... On Wednesday night, we decided that we would not work on Thursday, August 9, unless the company brings Nazma back to us.

"We want to see our colleague, Ms. Nazma, right now!  We have no desire to see Faruk, Rafiq and Haitem.  They are human traffickers!"

 

Ms. Nazma was recruited in Bangladesh in August 2010 to work in Jordan at the Classic factory.  The two Classic managers, Rafiqul Islam and Faruk Miah were both at the recruiting meeting in Dhaka.  Rafiq told Nazma that she was beautiful and he wanted to "marry" her.  (Mr. Islam is approximately 40 years old.  He is married and has a son and a daughter.  His family lives in the northern Bangladesh district of Bonga.)

Nazma's mother lives in dread and fear that Rafiq may have killed Nazma to steal the money she had saved.

Classic manager and serial rapist Anil Santha was terminated following a year-long campaign organized by the Institute which generated tremendous public pressure.

Both a major newspaper in Bangladesh, "Kaler Kantha," and the Bangladeshi television Channel 24 are reporting on the rapes and disappearances at Classic.  One woman told the media, "We believe that those kidnapped women were raped and killed."  (August 10, 2012)

The owner of Classic, Mr. Sanal Kumar, is saying he knows the whereabouts of Ms. Nazma.  But if Mr. Kumar knows where Ms. Nazma is, why does he not produce her immediately?

Ms. Nazma's passport number is F 0773619.  Her factory ID is 14506 and she worked as a sewing operator at Classic Factory II, working on Wal-Mart jeans.

The Classic factories have a long history relating to the sexual abuse, rape and forcible deportation of young women guest workers.  It took years before Mr. Sanal Kumar, Classic's owner, finally terminated general manager, Anil Santha, who was notorious as a serial rapist, and returned him to Sri Lanka.

This is all taking place in broad daylight under the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement.

The Bangladeshi manager, Mr. Rafiq Islam, must be immediately detained for questioning by the Jordanian police Office to Combat Human Trafficking.  The U.S. Embassy in Amman should also investigate.

The rapes and disappearances of young women at Classic must cease!

 

Commitment Letter of Nazma

[Translation]

I, undersigned, am Nazma, daughter of Anowar Hossain, passport # F 0773619 have been selected as a machine operator through BOESL to work at Classic factory in Jordan. I neither paid any additional money to any officers nor to any employees of BOESL except the prescribed service charge of BOESL.

Date: October 07, 2010

 

Signature:
Nazma

Father: Anowar
Village: Rani Pur
Post: Deuli
Police Station: Mirjaganj
District:Patuakhali

 

Nazma's passport and worker documents

Daily Destiny. Bangladesh. 25 Bangladeshi women workers are killed in Jordan in two years. August 10, 2012.

More information about sexual abuse and sweatshop conditions at Classic Fashion in Jordan

More about Jordan