Lankans Fear Embassy

The Sunday Leader |  By  | June, 13 2011 |  Share  | Source Article

Campaign: Classic/Jordan-Sweatshop Abuse, Sexual Predators

Report sent to Hillary Clinton

By Easwaran Rutnam

Sri Lankan women facing grave sexual abuse at the hands of their employers at a Jordanian factory linked with a major US garment supplier, are scared to approach the Sri Lankan Embassy in Jordan fearing reprisals or deportation.

Charles Kernaghan, Director of the US based Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights told The Sunday Leader, that a report regarding the abuse faced by the Sri Lankan women has been sent to the US State Department, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the US Congress.

The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights released a very disturbing report last week titled ‘Sexual Predators and Serial Rapists Run Wild at Wal-Mart Supplier in Jordan' which documents in great detail and in the workers' own words, how scores of young Sri Lankan women sewing clothing for Wal-Mart and Hanes have suffered routine sexual abuse and repeated rapes, and in some cases even torture.

In the report, one young rape victim at the Classic factory in Jordan said her assailant, a manager, bit her, leaving scars all over her body. Women who become pregnant are forcibly deported and returned to Sri Lanka.  Women who refuse the sexual advances of Classic's managers are also beaten and deported.
Kernaghan said he was shocked to see how scared the Sri Lankan women were of complaining to the Sri Lankan embassy in Jordan. He said that the human rights institute was in the process of writing to the Sri Lankan embassy in the US over the matter.

The Sri Lankan women who are facing abuse at the Jordanian factory are now facing additional threats as their employers are trying to find out who gave out information alleging the women were raped and abused, Kernaghan said.

He said that a team from his institute will be flying out to Jordan in an attempt to intervene and rescue the Sri Lankan women and will also file law suits in the US against the US company to obtain compensation for the abused women.

Kernaghan said that on a daily basis even after the release of the report to the media, more and more Sri Lankan women are secretly contacting the organization to tell their story.

In an even more shocking revelation, Kernaghan told The Sunday Leader that some Sri Lankan newspapers have refused to publish advertisements by the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights offering support and a helpline for the women trapped in Jordan.