Fashion brands PVH, Barbour and Second Clothing have agreed to pay more than $400,000 in compensation to migrant workers, including from India, who were forced to pay thousands of dollars for their jobs in Mauritius.
The move comes after a two-year investigation by US-based Transparentem documented forced labor practices at five Mauritian factories.
Bangladeshis formed the largest contingent of the nearly 29,000 foreign migrant laborers, followed by workers from India, China, and Madagascar.
Workers reported paying exorbitant recruitment fees, enduring deception, intimidation, and squalid living conditions.
The investigation looked at three Mauritian garment manufacturers: Denim de l’Ile (DDI), Firemount Group, and REAL Garments.
Although the commitment of $420,593 from the three brands is a constructive development, it addresses only the repayments at one factory, REAL Garments.
The testimonies collected by Transparentem painted a disturbing picture of exploitation, debt bondage, and human rights violations.
The promises for high wages were broken, and replaced by a harsh reality of meager paychecks barely enough to cover basic necessities, let alone repay the debts they had incurred to land the job, the workers had said.
Mauritius foreign office and its embassy in New Delhi didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comments.
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