LaborVoices, Labor Link Help Workers Report Sweatshop Factory Conditions

Mobile phones may be the most potent weapon to fight abuse
Bangladeshi Army personnel continue to clear debris after an eight-story building collapsed in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on May 13 Photograph by Munir uz Zaman/AFP via Getty Images

In the wake of the April 24 collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100, there’s growing consensus that the system of third-party audits that multinationals rely on to monitor working conditions in plants is broken. Over the course of more than eight years working as director of corporate responsibility for Gap and then Burberry Group, Sean Ansett says he realized that there were great limitations to audits. One big one, says Ansett, now a consultant in London, is that workers are often coached in how to answer questions from inspectors hired by Western brands and are unlikely to risk being fired by responding truthfully.

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