Today, October 16th, 2013, exactly 6 months after the tragic Bangladesh Factory collapse, over a thousand bloggers from around the world are coming together to raise awareness for, and take against against, human rights violations going on every day that are ignored by the greater part of societies around the world.

As a fashion and social-activism blogger, my job is rather easy because you don't have to look very hard to find exploitation and corruption within the fashion industry (unfortunately), even though so many people continue to support these corporations in their practices through their silence and purchase of their products.

So today for Blog Action Day 2013 I am going to expose a few specific and common malpractices within the fashion industry, why it matters, and direct actions we, as consumers, can and should take to make a difference! 

Photo: Visionare

THE DOWN AND DIRTY 

If you have been reading my blog for sometime (thank you!) or have taken a few minutes to explore the blog, you've probably noticed that I keep a running list of some of the top human right violators, within the fashion industry, under the "Boycott List" tab, which I also reproduced below for your convenience. I realized I hadn't really explained exactly what they do, which is pretty damn important~
  • Primark
  • Victoria's Secret
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Giorgio Armani
  • GAP
    • Banana Republic
    • Old Navy
  • J-Crew
  • JC Penny
  • DKNY
  • Hugo Boss
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Kate Spade
  • Hanes
  • Express
  • New York & Company
  • Bath & Body Works
  • L'Oreal
  • Diesel
  • Nike
  • American Apparel
  • Vichy
  • Mango
  • Abercrombie & Fitch

While these facts are specifically for GAP, such practices are unfortunately and scarily quite common throughout the fashion industry, especially so with the brands on the above boycott list.
So, here are some facts that are sure to make a GAPing hole in your heart (teehee get it!?!), courtesy of the Institute of Global Labor and Human Rights (so you know it's legit!)

+ Workers are paid 20-24 CENTS per hour, and forced to work over 100 hours a week:
Math time! If there are 168 hours in a week, and workers are working 100+ hrs (literally slave labor) and let's assume getting only 7hrs of sleep a night (which I probably grossly overestimated), that leaves about 2 hours a day left to do things such as eat. Wow. So basically, these human beings are getting less time per day to live "normal lives" (which may I mention they can't even afford on their "salary") than we do shopping. If that is not unfair I don't know what to tell you.

+ Management has no sympathy for pregnant women: 
"Despite the fact that she was pregnant, exhausted and sick, management at [GAP's] factory forced 20-year-old Morium Begum to work over 100 hrs a week. She lost her baby in her seventh months of pregnancy."
Yeah can I just say a few words here? What the actual hell.

+"Physical punishment and illegal firings are the norm":
In investigations of several other factories of brands such as Hanes, young women are reported to being tortured and raped.  

WHY DOES IT MATTER TO ME?

"I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I'm a human being, first and foremost, and as such I'm for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole"
-Malcolm X

Why are clothing companies creating modern-day slave labor? Why are children forced to work in factories rather than attend school? Why are pregnant women loosing their unborn babies?
For us.

It's the truth we don't want to admit. As consumers, we like paying more for less; and who can blame us? Why say no to a $3 shirt?! But your money speaks. And when it is going to unethical corporations and practices, remaining silent and buying from such brands is a voicing of your support and encouragement in what they do, behind the scenes.

Because a piece of clothing is never more important than another human being's life.

TAKE ACTION! YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

"Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." 
-Margaret Mead

A few posts ago, I write about alternatives to this modern-day slave labor/companies on the boycott list. (If you haven't already read that post, I encourage you to check it out!) c;
I won't repeat myself here, but rather echo a few key points:

Change starts with you! 
Taking direct actions such as consciously limiting your consumption and soundly deciding not to buy from brands listed above are ways to make your voice heard.

Spread the word. Really, can't emphasize this enough. Do your own research and write about it on your blog, tell your friends and family! Share this post! Email it to friends, post it on your facebook, anything! The more people who hear this message the more people will take action, and the more change we can do!

Support efforts to uncover the truth, like this video:



The power to make change is in our hands.

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world" -Anne Frank

The time to act is now. Will you join the fight for change?

<(')


P.P.S. If you participated in Blog Action Day today please comment with the link to your post/tweet at me (@hodakatebi) and I'll be spreading your links because hooray for human rights and awareness! c;