There is an appalling report by Human Rights Watch, released on 1/23/19, called “Unfair and Abusive Labor Practices in Pakistan.” There are approximately 15 million garment workers in Pakistan and many are working in abysmal conditions with no real protections. The piece makes truly sobering reading. You can also watch a brief video released along with the report:
The report details how even inspections meant to certify good labor practices are sometimes sadly inadequate. In 2012 there was a fire where over 250 workers died and that factory had been certified as having adequate fire safety just a few weeks earlier.
The fire story is indicative of the callous attitude towards workers, “a fire at the Ali Enterprises garment factory in Karachi…Investigations found a series of irregularities and an almost complete absence of fire and safety mechanisms. According to surviving workers, the management made no immediate efforts to rescue the workers and instead attempted to save their merchandise first.”
Even after safety and worker protection guarantees after the 2012 fire, sadly the conditions in Pakistan’s factories have not improved.
Demand transparency about where and how your garments are made and don’t buy from companies that don’t insist on fair treatment of workers.