How many of us have bought cheap clothing from a supermarket, guiltily justifying the purchase with the glib excuse that at least it gives people in developing countries paid work? We would perhaps be less willing to do so if we could see the conditions garment workers are forced to live in due to the pittance they are paid for their highly skilled work.

When school teacher Louise Banks was in Bangladesh recently she met a woman standing by her corrugated-iron shack, built above an open sewer. She had moved from her home village to Dhaka’s slums five years before. Like many garment workers living ...


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