Press

Sexual abuse, rape, torture of Sri Lankan women garment workers in Jordan

LAKBIMA NEWS |  By Padmini Matarage | June, 16 2011 |  Share  | Source Article

Campaign: Classic/Jordan-Sweatshop Abuse, Sexual Predators

Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights accuses  the Jordan Ministry of Labour for turning a blind eye on the routine sexual abuse, repeated rape and sometimes even torture of Sri Lankan women who work in Classic, the largest garment export factory in Jordan.

The report also alleges that the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement has also failed over the last ten years to protect the basic rights of the 30,000 foreign guest workers sewing garments for export to the U.S. 
One Bangladeshi worker recently deported from the Classic factory told us:
"All the workers of Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh...everybody will testify that Anil raped the Sri Lankan women. Everybody knows."


"In a safe place, the workers will testify," the report states.


The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights also demanded American retail giants Wal-Mart, Hanes, Kohl's, Target and Macy's to pay significant compensation to the rape victims to restore some dignity to their lives.  Although the American retailers should have monitored the working standard of its contractor they have not done so allowing the Classic management to violate the workers human rights.


"On the weekly holiday, the alleged serial rapist general manager, Anil Santha, sends a van to bring four or five young women to his hotel, where he abuses them. The lives of the young Sri Lankan rape victims are completely shattered, as in their culture, virginity is highly prized and critical for a good marriage," the report said.


The workers, predominantly from South Asia including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Egypt, earn a take-home wage of just 61 cents an hour although the work is tough and the management abusive.


"The standard shift at Classic is 13 hours a day, six and seven days a week, with some 18 1/2 hour shifts before the clothing must be shipped to the U.S. According to witness testimonies, workers are routinely cursed at, hit and shortchanged of their wages for failing to reach their mandatory production goals. To press the women to work faster, managers grope and fondle them."