Reports

June, 24 2011 |  Download PDF |  Share

Hanes and Target Linked to Sexual Abuse: Classic Factory in Jordan

 

Preface
Hanes and Target Linked to Sexual Abuse

Charles Kernaghan

Young women guest workers from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are being repeatedly sexually abused at the Classic Group of factories in Jordan while sewing Hanes "C9" clothing for women and men, which is sold exclusively at Target.

There is no man or woman in the United States who would knowingly purchase garments made by poor women from the developing world who were sexually abused and beaten.

It was one of the most powerful experiences of our lives to be in the Criminal Investigation Department of the Jordanian police when "Nazma," a young, slight and very beautiful Bangladeshi woman who was abused at Classic raised her right hand and swore to God that Anil Santha had repeatedly raped her.  The prosecutor then asked her to point to her abuser and "Nazma" turned and pointed directly at Anil Santha, one of the most powerful general managers at Classic.  That took incredible courage.

Now it is our turn to stand up and make certain that no one, ever again, sexually abuses any of the thousands of young women guest workers who are sewing garments at Classic for duty-free export to the U.S.

Hanes is the most recognized label in the United States, and their "C9" label is sold exclusively at Target.  Wal-Mart is the largest retailer on the face of the earth.

Tell Hanes, Wal-Mart and Target to stop the abuse immediately!

 

The Delegation to Jordan:

Charles Kernaghan, director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, and Tim Waters, political director of the United Steelworkers (USW) lead the delegation to Jordan from June 14 to June 19, 2011.

 Table of Contents

"Nazma"

The American People Have a Voice

Serial Rapist Set Free By Jordanian Authorities

GAP Says Kumar is a Liar

Wal-Mart and Hanes Feign Ignorance

Rather Than Helping the Abused Women at Classic Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi Government Officials Are Threatening the Victims

Anil, Nayagam and Priyantha Linked to Sexual Abuse in Dubai

Classic's Owner Tries to Bribe the Workers

 

 

"Nazma"

A Young Bangladeshi Woman Worker from Classic
Describes How Anil Santha Brutally Raped Her

 

I could not understand his language.  He [Anil] was speaking in the Sri Lankan language and what he was saying I could not understand.

Then he used his body to push and knock me down on the bed.

I said, "No. No."  He said something I could not understand, but I kept saying, "No, no, no!"  I kept pleading, but he did not listen to me.  I fought with him.  I continued to cry, "No, no!"  That day, I was wearing my yellow dress.  He grabbed my dress very hard.  My dress was torn.  He opened my clothing.  Then he totally undressed me.  I was crying a lot.

I was crying in the bed.  Later I covered my body with the bed sheet.

He threatened me that I would go to jail if I tell anybody.  I clearly understood the word "Jail."

He did not use a condom.  He did sex to me for half an hour.

Afterward, I put my dress on and sat on the bed.  He pulled my arm to make me stand up.  I was crying and he shoved a tissue into my hand.

Anil walked very quickly out of the room and I had to follow him.  He was walking five or six feet ahead of me.

We got into the van [Classic company van] and after some time he got out of the van and the driver dropped me off at the factory.  The driver dropped me off in front of Classic II, at the factory gate.

My co-workers were asking me where I had been taken.  I could not respond to them, as I was crying.  It was tea time, around 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon.

All my friends were asking me why I was crying.  I could not tell them the truth.  I didn't say a word.  I continued crying.

As I was crying, they took me to the doctor's room and I lay down on a small bed.  I was lying down, but was feeling pain all over my body.  The nurse gave me a tablet.  At 8:00 or 8:30 p.m. the nurse told me to leave the factory and go to the dorm.

I was walking slowly because of the pain, and my co-workers asked me why was I walking so slowly.

Workers know this. -If Anil chooses any woman, she is forced to do this nasty thing.  Nobody dares speak about it.

It happened at the end of March.  But [Anil] again called me in May.  It was the day after I got paid, around the middle of May.

He called me through Ms. Juma.  Juma [a supervisor] told me that Anil sir called me to go to his room.  She told me to bring my cards [punch cards, ID and other factory documents].  She added that Anil sir would transfer me to another factory.

Actually, Anil got things done through Juma.  I told Ms. Juma that I would not go with him.  I repeatedly said I would not go.  But Juma said again that whatever Anil sir asks, you are obligated to do it.

I sharply said I would not go with him.  Then Juma angrily said that I would have to pay back 70,000 taka [$947] to the company in order to send me back home.  Juma forced me to go to Anil's room.

In front of the other workers, Anil said that he was transferring me to another factory.

I was forced to go.  I got into the van.  He said that this time he was really transferring me to another factory.  He took his seat in the front beside the driver and I took a seat in the back.

We went into a similar type of room.  It was a different hotel.  He took me inside.  The first time [end of March] he knocked me down, but this day he immediately started to undress me as soon as we entered the room.  Before I could say anything, Anil started opening my dress.

 

 

It was about 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon. 

I tried to push him off, but failed.  I tried to fight him off, but I couldn't.

He raped me twice.  I pushed him off me but he returned after 10 minutes and grabbed me.

The first time [at the end of March] he raped me once.  But the second time, he raped me twice.  He raped me twice.

He did not use a condom.

He bit me.  Where he bit me was black and blue.

I was so ashamed that I closed my eyes.  I did not look at him.  I felt so embarrassed I did not look at his body. 

He dropped me first at Classic II and then he went to Classic III with the van.

When I went back to the assembly line, the supervisor asked me what I did at Classic III.  I had to lie, saying I worked on an overlock machine.  I could not move my left hand.  [Anil had bitten her shoulder very badly, biting her and kneading the flesh, she estimates for about ten minutes.]  The supervisor asked me why I was moving my hand so slowly.

We went out around 4:30 p.m. and came back at 6:00 or 6:15 p.m.

I told her that I did a very hard job at Classic III.  I couldn't run a machine [due to the pain in her shoulder.]  I sat on a stool removing the stickers and marking the number on the fabric.

The women all know about Anil's bad character.  Everyone, all workers, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, even the Indian workers have known his filthy character.

Mid-May was the last time he raped me.  I heard he was doing similar crimes with Sri Lankan women at the same time.  I heard that a [Sri Lankan] woman was deported.  I don't know her whereabouts.  She was from Classic II.

 


Back to top

 

 

The American People Have a Voice
-A $12.5 billion voice!-

 

The American people do not have to be shy or hesitant in demanding an immediate end to the beatings, repeated rapes and torture of young women guest workers in Jordan sewing clothing for Hanes, Wal-Mart and other labels at the Classic factory in Jordan.

Over the last several decades, the American people have given Jordan $12.470 billion in economic and military aid!

In fiscal year 2012, the American people will give Jordan another $663.7 million in economic and military aid, which amounts to $1.82 million a day, every day of the year.

Everyone knows that money talks.  It is our right to save the rape victims at the Classic factory in Jordan.

There is more.  Under the U.S. Jordan Free Trade Agreement we allow factories like Classic and labels such as Wal-Mart, Hanes, Target, Kohl's and Macy's to bring their garments to the U.S. duty-free.

In the last nine years, foreign-owned garment factories in Jordan employing young women guest workers from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, China, Nepal and Egypt, have exported $8 billion ($7,946,219,299) worth of garments to the U.S.  Under the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement, we allowed these garments to enter the U.S. duty-free.  The duty free entry cost the American people approximately $1.327 billion in lost tariffs, which would have gone into the U.S. Treasury.

Do we really want to give duty-free access to a sweatshop factory like Classic and labels like Hanes and Wal-Mart while young women workers are stripped of their legal rights and sexually abused?

The point is, we should not underestimate the very powerful voice we have as Americans and consumers.  We can end the sexual abuse and torture of young women at the Classic factory tomorrow, if we raise our voices.


Back to top

 

 

Serial Rapist Set Free
By Jordanian Authorities

 

After incarcerating Anil Santha on Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19, to face charges of rape and torture of a young woman guest worker at the Classic factory, he was suddenly and inexplicably freed.

The alleged rapist, Anil Santha, went right back to work at Classic, patrolling the shop floor as if nothing had happened.  This was devastating to the workers, and the Jordanian authorities have made a terrible mistake.  With Anil actually in prison, the Classic workers began to feel a rising sense of confidence that abuse they had suffered for years at the hands of Anil might be over.  The thick pall of terror in the factory was lifting and the workers would breathe more easily.

Several recent rape victims were starting to feel confident enough that they were on the verge of coming forward to testify about how Anil had sexually abused them.

When the Jordanian authorities allowed Anil to return to Classic, the hope and confidence of the workers collapsed.  Now they are more terrified than ever.  This was a huge mistake, and it is critical to find out if this was intentional.

Rather than freeing Anil, why did the Jordanian authorities not question Ms. Juma, a supervisor at Classic II, who was the go-between for Anil, procuring women and taking them to a Classic company van where Anil was waiting?  They used the van to ferry the women to several different hotels, where Anil brutally raped them.  Surely hotel staff could verify Anil's renting a room and taking a young girl in with him.  An hour later, when they left, the girl would walk several feet behind Anil, crying uncontrollably as they returned to the van.  Surely hotel staff saw all of this.

We ask:  Why is it that the Jordanian authorities are not seriously pursuing such an investigation?

By the way, an inspector from the Ministry of Labor saw Anil in the factory stroking the hair and face of young women workers.


Back to top

 

 

GAP Says Sanal Kumar is a Liar

 

This is what GAP compliance officers said when they pulled their production from the Classic Group of factories in 2007. 

"Sanal could not be trusted."  He said all the right things, but repeatedly violated GAP's code of conduct with regard to respect for workers rights.  There were problems with excessive hours, and falsification of wage and hours documents.

Congratulations to GAP for standing up and speaking the truth.  If Wal-Mart and Hanes had the same level of honesty, this would have saved scores of young women from being sexually abused by Anil Santha and other managers.


Back to top

 

Wal-Mart and Hanes Feign Ignorance

 

Ignorance is bliss, according to some people.  Wal-Mart, Hanes and the others labels produced at Classic would definitely fall into this category.  For years, Hanes and Wal-Mart admit to being aware of alleged cases of serious sexual abuse of young women guest workers at Classic.  But these pitiful giants simply could not verify the abuse.  As the very Classic managers believed to be abusing the women stood next the them, corporate monitors from Hanes and Wal-Mart asked their questions and-for some strange reason-the workers refused to say anything about the beatings and rampant sexual abuse at the factory.

I believe Wal-Mart and Hanes know exactly what they are doing.  They do not want to hear about the abuse.  They want cheap garments to be delivered on time to feed their profit machines.

All Wal-Mart and Hanes had to do to penetrate the fog of alleged abuse at Classic was to consult with any one of dozens of women's rights organizations who could explain exactly why abused women the world over have no choice but to remain silent.  If there is no one to advocate for these women, obviously there is nowhere for them to turn for help.  Rape is just one of the crimes against the abused women of Classic.  The second crime is that if the women publicly denounce their rape, they will suffer even more.  They will be ostracized, blamed and can forget about getting married.  If they go public, their lives are shattered.  If they remain silent, there may still be a chance for them to marry once they get out of the hell hole that Classic is.

Wal-Mart and Hanes executives know this, but they do not care.

It is up to the American people to make these corporations care. 

Wal-Mart and Hanes should immediately consult with the Sakhi South Asian Women's organization in the U.S. and Women in Need (WIN) in Sri Lanka.  It will be an eye-opener for them, and the sexual abuse and torture can be brought to an end.


Back to top

 

 

Rather Than Helping the Abused Women at Classic

Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi Government Officials Are Threatening the Victims

 

The government-run Sri Lankan Foreign Employment Bureau appears to have done nothing to help and support the young Sri Lankan women workers at Classic who have been brutally and repeatedly sexually abused.  At least we have not seen one single incident in which they have helped these women.  Their goal appears to be covering up the abuse so that the flow of young Sri Lankan women guest workers offshore continues.

Unfortunately, the government-run Bangladesh Overseas Employment Service Ltd also seems intent upon denying that there are any violations of young Bangladeshi women at the Classic factory.

It is extremely sad and disturbing that the Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi victims of beatings, sexual abuse and torture at Classic are alone, with nowhere to turn for help.  Not even their own governments are listening.

 

Back to top

 

 

 

Anil, Nayagam and Priyantha

Linked to Sexual Abuse in Dubai

Brave and Knowledgeable Sri Lankans Speak Out
Anil kicked out of Tanzania and Dubia for rampant sexual abuse

"...his current boss, Sanal, who was his good friend from Dubai, got [Anil] the job in Jordan.  The amount of torture this man and his colleagues have done to poor girls are countless and I am eager to see what punishment this monster will get."

"Once Anil got kiked (sic) out of Dubai, Sanal took him to Jordan.  The reason that Sanal needs Anil is that Anil is such a person that he sucks the juice out of workers and meets the deliveries by hook or crook, and which makes millions to Sanal.  Anil has no sympathy for any workers."

"I used to knoe [Anil]  when he was toturing girls in Dubai factories as well...It  is almost impossible to track the way they torture them by a outsider coz it is done very systematically...when some of the girls are not able to meet these terrible targets the manager used to torture and abuse them. (sic)

 

"Dear Zahran, I can write books about this guy since i know his way of management since 1992 in Dubai. He also work in Tanzania for a period of one year and the time he left Tanzania he had over 75 cases againts him in the court for abusing toturing workers. Somehow his boss managed to send him out of the country and landed in Dubai Fuji garments. THere the same thing he did to most of the workers. Since his ruthless way of getting the production targets fullfied the bosses never qustion him for any complaint comes from the workers. From Fuji garment he became a partner of a another factory named SAN apperal. SAN means Sanath, Anil Nandana. THose were the 3 partners ofthe factory.Sanath is our famous crcketer Jayasoriya and Nandana is a wealthy businessman now in Dubai and also used to be a production manager before in a garment factory in Dubai. Sanath took his shares of the company when he comes to know the toture that Anil used to do to the gils. Even those days girls made so manny complained to the consulate in Dubai but they never came to inquire due to the reson of Sanath been involved. Later Nandana also could not handle the situation and he too kicked Anil out of the factory and their he went back to srilanka and settled in Kandy. Started car sale and that didnt do well. Then he contacted His current boss sanal who was his good friend from Dubai and got the job in Jordan. THe amount of toture this man and his colegues has done to poor girls are countless and i am so eager to see what punishment this monster will get."  --Chandrika

"Thank God finally justice will serve to these poor workers. Ever since i show this article on derana i repeatedly mention about Manager Anil santha´s behaviour as i used to knoe him while he was toturing girls in Dubai factories as well. But sometime derana did never publish my comments. It is so sad that derana you say truth first. It is almost impossible to track the way they toture them by a out sider. coz it is done very systematically.These poor wokers once they landed they have to work like slaves for excessive hours to fulfil the production target these managers set to satisfy their bosses and to save their highly paid jobs. This is how it happens. 1) Factory receives such large orders from USA buyers at very tight pricing The volume of the orders are high but at very low price. 2) once the order is confirmed by the owner of the factory it goes to the merchandizer to estimate the delevery period by consulting with the factory production manager.This is where things go wrong. Sometime the merchandizer need the goods so fast as per the deadline given by the buyer. 3) To meet this short delevery time production manager sets individual manufacturing targets to the poor workers that they can acheive in normal 8 hours time. Therefore theyare bound to work up to 12 to 14 hours a day to fullfil their given target but no pay for extra working hours. When some of the girls are not able to meet these terrible targets the manager used to torture them abuse them, Reason is that if he manager is not able to give the delevery on the day that he commited to the mechandizer or the owner or the buyer, the order may get cancelled or get air lifted at factory cost.So there is no smooth life for poor worker at anytime with thses kind of un qualified production managers who commited to wrong lead times of dcleveries.Finally Anil santha has lot of political connection in srilanka. I hope that justice will prevail."

"Dear Derana, I am so greatfull to you for publishing my comments without editing it. This is what it call unbiased TRUTH FIRST. I am writing my comments on this matter since the day i know it and i feel so sad and painfull to hear the grievences of our fellow sisters.So when i write ,I write so fast before my thoughts get vanished and i need to convert them to words and print them. Anil must be punished and my only fear is he is politically highly connected with some of his close friends who are now wealthy businessman in DUbai and srilanka are very well connected with our big brothers familly.So Anils only saviours are them. I hope they will not try to influence the political power to get Anil out of this terrible thing that he has done to poor girls. I have competetly read the report of www.globallabourrights.org and every single worrd written their is 100 percent tru to the history of Anil ,Nayagam and Priyantha as i know all of them when they were in DUbai. Also i know Anils boss Sanal from the time he used to work in Dubai MB garment as a financial controller. He too has high influence jordan due to the size of his factory and the power of his money. Anil and Sanal used to be close friend from the time they were in Dubai. Once Anil got kiked out from Dubai ,Sanal took him to Jordan. THe reason that Sanal need Anil is that Anil is such a person that he sucks the juice out of workers and meet the deleveries by hook or croock and which makes millions to Sanal. Anil has no sympathy for any workers. his method is do the way i want and no question ask. Most of those workers,when they go back to their country after 3 years of hard work, they have no much energy left in them. Working continuesly 12 to 14 hours a day with one focus mind of sewing clothes is not a easy task at all. May god bless those innocent girls and show your justice to culprits.  --Janaka"

 

Back to top

 

 

Classic's Owner
Tries to Bribe the Workers

 

Sanal Kumar, Classic's owner, is panicking as he tries to cover up years of abuse at his company, Classic Group, where young women workers have routinely suffered beatings, constant threats, forcible deportation, sexual abuse and torture.

After GLHR released its report documenting the rampant sexual abuse at Classic, Sanal Kumar had a sudden change of heart.  After cheating and shortchanging the workers for years, on June 17 Sanal offered the workers the equivalent of a nine percent wage increase, or $14.10 a month per worker employed at Classic.  This amounts to an increase of $812,160 a year to the workers!

This proves two things:  Sanal Kumar is scared, and hopes he can bribe the workers to lie about the brutal sweatshop conditions at Classic.  On the other hand, it proves the enormous amount of profits Sanal Kumar is racking up-on the backs of his workers.  In a split second he can decide to fork over $812,160 to bribe the workers.


Back to top

 

 

Hanes' C9 by Champion, sold exclusively at Target. Please see below for bills of lading of April and June 2011, labels smuggled out from Classic Fashion factories in May 2011, and C9 garments bought at Target.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More updates, news and report about Classic Fashion sweatshop in Jordan