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"Director of the National Labor Committee on Investigation Into the Lingerie Giant`s Manufacturing Standards," The O`Reilly Factor--Fox News

December, 05 2007 Share

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 4, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Impact" segment tonight, Victoria's Secret is a huge international corporation that sells women's stuff. The company markets brilliantly, even having a yearly special on CBS in prime time.

But now come charges that Victoria's Secret uses sweatshop labor, and brutality is allegedly involved. The company says it will look into the matter.

With us now, Charles Kernaghan, director of the National Labor Committee, which has investigated the situation.

So, Victoria's Secret isn't denying what you say. And you say what?

CHARLES KERNAGHAN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL LABOR COMMITTEE: Well, in this Factory, called D.K. Garments in Jordan, Victoria's Secret has been in the Factory for four years. The workers are working from 7 a.m. in the morning until 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. at night. So they're going 14 to 15 hours a day, seven days a week. They get one day off every three or four months.

They are cheated of about 40 percent of their wages. They get three-and-a-half minutes to make a pair of underwear, for which they're paid 4.5 cents. So it's a real sweatshop that houses miserable conditions. Where right now in Jordan it's freezing. There is no heat or hot water in the dormitories. In fact, there's no water about two or three days a week.

O'REILLY: So the country of Jordan — all right. — Arab country has a big assembly line set up to make the garments.

KERNAGHAN: Mm-hmm.

O'REILLY: Who's doing that work? Who are these people? Jordanians?

KERNAGHAN: No. We have a free-trade agreement with Jordan. And under that free-trade agreement Factories have blossomed in Jordan. But they're foreign-owned. They're owned by the Chinese, by United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Dubai, you name it, South Korea. And the workers, the Jordanians won't work in the Factory. So the workers are guest workers, brought in from Bangladesh, India, China, Sri Lanka.

When they came into the country, they were stripped of their passports. This was human trafficking. We released a report about a year ago.

O'REILLY: Who — who stripped them of their passports?

KERNAGHAN: The Factory owners.

O'REILLY: Ok. So they come in from, let's say, Bangladesh.

KERNAGHAN: Yes.

O'REILLY: Very poor country. They come to Jordan. Who pays for that transportation?

KERNAGHAN: The workers.

O'REILLY: OK. The workers pay their own way to Jordan. They hear about a job. They get in there. The owner of the company, of the Factory takes their passport, forces them to work in all these conditions. They can't leave the company. So far I'm right? This is what you found out?

KERNAGHAN: They have the passports returned now after we've released the campaign.

O'REILLY: OK.

KERNAGHAN: But otherwise conditions...

O'REILLY: So it's basically slave labor?

KERNAGHAN: It was slave labor. Absolutely.

O'REILLY: Now are you saying that the Victoria's Secret headquarters in New York — I believe that's where they are — should know about this? Don't they just buy on consignment? Don't they just buy?

KERNAGHAN: No, they are responsible to know what goes on in their Factories. And again, they've been in this factory for...

O'REILLY: But they don't own the Factories.

KERNAGHAN: No. No company owns the Factories.

O'REILLY: These are owned by, you know, sleazy guys who just set it up, right?

KERNAGHAN: Yes. And they go there because of the low wages and the lack of...

O'REILLY: Well, if I'm the president of Victoria's Secret, I say I don't know anything about this. They bring their wares in. I buy it, and then I market it in the USA.

KERNAGHAN: Yes. But then they tell the American people the direct opposite. They say, "You can trust us. We have a corporate code of conduct. We can guarantee you that the rights of workers, anywhere in the world, that make our garments are going to be respected."

O'REILLY: When did they say that? Where do they say that?

KERNAGHAN: Well, companies have had that ever since Kathie Lee Gifford when we exposed the fact that they were using child labor.

O'REILLY: And she had no idea that that was going on.

KERNAGHAN: No. But at that point the world knew. So things changed.

O'REILLY: That embarrassed her, but she. What I'm trying to say to is, I don't know if Victoria's Secret, these people, care what happens. They just want the stuff.

KERNAGHAN: Well, that's the problem. They don't care. So the thing — they'll go for the lowest price they can get. And but when you're in a country like Jordan, which is, of course, not a Democracy.

O'REILLY: So you think the CEO has an obligation to go to Jordan and look at the sweatshop and say, "Look, we're not going to do business with you."

KERNAGHAN: Yes. Essentially, they do that and they tell that to the American people. They said, "We're going to guarantee you that these garments are made..."

O'REILLY: But I never saw them say that.

KERNAGHAN: It's in their code of conduct. It's all over their Web sites.

O'REILLY: Is it?

KERNAGHAN: Sure, every company has this.

O'REILLY: All right. Well, now Victoria's Secret certainly knows, and slave labor is unacceptable. And we appreciate you bringing it to everybody's attention. And we'll stay on the story and see if they do anything, Mr. Kernaghan. It's a huge, obviously making billions off the backs of these poor people.

Click here for the NLC's Report on Victoria's Secret's Sweatshop in Jordan

Link to the official transcript at the Fox News Website