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Workers Who Make the World’s Clothes Are Facing Abject Poverty

  • As virus hits big brands, Asia’s garment makers lose jobs
  • Pandemic has shattered the clothing industry’s supply chain
An empty garment factory during a government-imposed lockdown in Ashulia, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on April 7.
An empty garment factory during a government-imposed lockdown in Ashulia, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on April 7.Photographer: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP via Getty Images
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Rozina Begum is worried that she and her husband and two children will starve. On March 25, a manager of Ultimate Fashions Ltd. in the Ashulia garment district on the outskirts of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, summoned her and some 300 other workers at the plant and told them to finish what they were working on and go home.

“I asked the manager, ‘why are you doing this to us?’ We were told there would be no production from tomorrow. The man didn’t say anything else,” Rozina said by phone, confined to her tiny home. “I can’t go out looking for a new job. I just have to wait for the shutdown to end.” Even then, she doesn’t know if she will get her job back.