Made in Bangladesh – the fifth estate

Made in Bangladesh – the fifth estate

(♪♪)>>Mark: This mountain of rubble is a monument to the 1100 lives lost here last April, when this garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh. (♪♪) Unleashing the stories that had long been locked inside.>>A thousand people died and no one said a thing.>>Mark: Do you recognize these shorts. We meet the people who make your clothes, and find out where those clothes were made. This your address. This is where this came from. (shouting in unison)>>Mark: The truth that retailers don’t want you to know.>>You’ve been hit. You’ve been hit. You’ve been hit. Do any of you worry that one day you may die in your factory?>>Of course. Of course.>>Mark: Dangerous factories. And dark secrets. Hi, I’m Mark Kelley and welcome to “The Fifth Estate.” I’m standing by the rubble of what was once Rana Plaza. When the 8-story factory collapsed in April, a frantic search for survivors began. So too did the search for answers. How, the world wondered, could a disaster like this happen? Well, we joined that search when we learned many of the victims died here making clothes for Canadian consumers. Along the way, we uncovered this ledger pulled from the rubble and using the information inside here we spent months piecing together clues that would reveal how and where your clothes are being made. And what we would also discover is, the disaster that happened here was no accident. (♪♪)>>Mark: Fashion is built on an image of beauty, glamour and style. Creations that not only make you look good, but feel good. clothes without a conscience. the reality of the fashion industry is far less glamorous. A reality Canadian retailers don’t want you to know about. It’s known as the race to the bottom, where the cheapest prices win. A race that created fast fashion. And that’s why today, many of your clothes bear the label made in Bangladesh. (♪♪)>>Mark: It was that glamour of the fashion industry that spoke to Sujeet Sennik. Even as a teenager growing up in the suburbs of Toronto.>>I’m from a South Asian family. My father’s a doctor. And they wanted me to sort of follow that path. I was super creative, so it was a way for me to say, hey, listen, there’s a job for me if it’s an actual commercial career.>>Mark: He went to a couture school and turned a dream into a dream job: designing for Christian Dior and Balenciaga in Paris.>>It was like, you know, a fish finding a pond. It gave me a way out, a way to lead my own life. It gave me my freedom, and it gave me everything.>>Mark: But the growing popularity and increasing demand for fast fashion led him back to Toronto to design $20 blouses for Walmart. Instead of Paris, his fashion focus was Bangladesh.>>There was a natural flow towards Bangladesh because of fast fashion in the last ten years. And trying to get clothes cheaper and cheaper. But when the recession hit, I think people just ran for the price. It was, you know, Mecca. It was Mecca.>>Mark: But the road to Mecca decimated Canada’s garment industry. From 2001 to 2010, 75,000 jobs were lost here. many deep-rooted manufacturers Had a stark choice: Move or close.>>My great-grandfather was a rag dealer. He used to go from Sherbrooke to Montreal in a horse and buggy, buying rags from the farmers.>>Mark: Barry Laxer’s family has been in the garment business in Montreal and Toronto for 3 Generations but he was forced to pack it all up for price.>>My single largest customer that at the time in Canada accounted for over 50% of our Volume told us that to continue doing business we needed to find a lower cost manufacturing base somewhere else.>>Mark: And that was Bangladesh.>>It turned out to be Bangladesh.>>Mark: Companies around the world were now beating a path to Bangladesh. From H&M, to Walmart, Nike and The Gap. Barry Laxer joined that garment gold rush. Today, his company, Radical Designs, runs two factories outside Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.>>At least half the machines in this factory all came from Canada. We had like 80 containers of machinery that came here.>>Mark: You just rushed it over here to do business.>>We just, it wasn’t doing anything in Toronto.>>Mark: Now he employs more than 1000 people and he pays them 3 times the minimum wage.>>When you own a factory, nothing is better than walking through and seeing it full.>>Mark: And busy.>>And busy, yeah.>>Mark: You’ve built quite an empire here Barry. What’s the allure for companies to come to Bangladesh?>>The only real allure is, is labour. The workers will work for wages that most countries won’t, because there’s no alternative. Working for next to nothing is better than working for nothing. (♪♪)>>Mark: In real terms, next to nothing is $38 a month or 24 cents an hour. The lowest garment worker wage on the planet. (♪♪) The floodgates for Canadian businesses opened when Ottawa dropped import duties from Bangladesh in 2003. Canadian companies like Lulu Lemon, HBC and Walmart Canada climbed aboard the Bangladeshi band wagon. The result, imports grew by 618%. Some say the front-runner in the race to the bottom was Loblaw’s brand Joe Fresh. These TV ad show the appeal of its cheerful and cheap clothing line. The line has bounced its way to one of the top spots in the children’s wear market in Canada. Speaking to the CBC in 2010, the company said he’s just giving consumers what they want.>>They wanted fashion and they wanted fashion that would play across the country and they needed it at amazing price points.>>Mark: Joseph Mimran was now a fast fashion icon, but just how low could prices go? Well look at this TV ad for Walmart. Clearly, the lower the better.>>Now more styles, and more stylish. All at unbelievable prices. Exclusively at Walmart.>>Mark: For designers like Sujeet Sennik, beauty took a backseat to price. What was the pressure put on you to make cheaper and cheaper clothes?>>Price is the starting point. It’s everything. It was down to, you got 6 buttons on your shirt, take it down to 5. Can we take it down to 4?>>Mark: Sennik says he felt the pressure from retailers to cut costs, and so did the factory owners.>>They can’t say no to, to a hundred thousand units. That means a very long time that the factory is going to be sitting idle if they don’t get that order.>>Mark: So they needed you.>>They need you. They need you. And, you know, at the end of the day, you know, that’s not my decision, but, like, I started wondering, Mark, I really started wondering, how is it possible for clothing to be made at these low prices?>>Mark: It’s a good question. Because while price was the priority, there were signs worker safety was not. In the decade before Rana Plaza, hundreds of people died in factory fires and building collapses in Bangladesh. Tragedy after tragedy, year after year, and no one in Canada seemed to notice. That changed on the morning of April 24th. (Siren)>>Mark: When the eight-storey Rana Plaza, collapsed. (shouting)>>Mark: More than 1100 people were killed. Hundreds are still missing, believed to be buried in the rubble. Tell me about what happened when you learned about Rana Plaza.>>It was like if you start having nightmares and then they become real, that was what Rana Plaza was for me.>>Mark: The search For survivors seemed to drag on and on. (Speaking Foreign Language)>>Mark: Sujeet remembers being called into one particular meeting after the collapse. Where profits were put ahead of people.>>We were in a room full of people when we were told that we were connected. And no one said anything about 1000 people. 1000 people died, no one said a thing. They didn’t, they didn’t say anything about them, they just talked about their — the loss in terms of units, how are they going to make up their margins? People were talking about that. And I sat there. I said nothing. Shame on me.>>Mark: Walmart was just one of dozens of companies that had used Rana Plaza. At the time of the collapse the biggest factory in the building was making clothes for Joe Fresh. Their pink and red pants were found in the rubble along with the bodies of the workers who made them. (♪♪)>>Mark: One week after the collapse, Joseph Mimran and Loblaw chairman Galen Weston faced the glare of the media.>>This has been a — quite a tragic event, ummm, and it’s something that has touched all of our hearts — it has been a very difficult week for everybody.>>I’m troubled that despite a clear commitment to the highest standards of ethical sourcing our company can still be a part of such an unspeakable tragedy.>>Mark: But just how deep was that commitment to ethical sourcing? What did Canadian companies know about how their clothes were being made in Bangladesh. And what did they do to find out? Sujeet wanted to find the truth, so he made a life changing decision and quit his job.>>I thought, I don’t want to be a part of this anymore. I can’t be a part of this. So, I stopped.>>Mark: When we come back, Sujeet’s journey.>>Are we sending people to factories knowing that there’s a huge danger?>>Mark: And a teenaged garment worker who survived the collapse. (♪♪) (♪♪)>>Mark: Welcome to the wild west of the global garment industry. Bangladesh has one of the world’s densest populations, political instability and world class corruption. Since the 90’s, the economy has grown by double digits, fueled by fast fashion. Factories sit unfinished. Just waiting for new floors to be added to accommodate new business. And every morning, scenes like this play out through the capital Dhaka, as 4 million garment workers quietly file into work. (loudspeaker) (♪♪)>>Mark: They carry with them memories of Rana Plaza, wondering if a tragedy like this could happen to them. (♪♪)>>Mark: The Rana collapse put Sujeet Sennik on a mission. The former fashion designer from Walmart Canada now wanted to learn the truth about how the clothes he designed were made.>>I had to find out for myself. Is this what my industry has been doing? Are we doing this on purpose? Are we sending people to factories knowing that there’s a huge danger?>>Mark: Sujeet travelled with us to Bangladesh. First stop a residential neighbourhood in Dhaka, an unlikely backdrop for the deadliest accident in the garment industry before Rana Plaza.>>Mark: This is Tazreen. It’s massive. November 2012. Fire broke out in the Tazreen fashion factory. A 9-storey building, though the owner only had a permit for 3 storeys. There were no fire escapes. Many doors were blocked by boxes. Windows were barred shut. Months before the blaze, the factory’s fire safety certificate had been revoked. Most of the 112 victims here were burned alive.>>When the Tazreen factory fire happened, I was horrified. All these fingers were pointing all everywhere, and no one was saying, hey listen, maybe, maybe we might have just a little bit to do with this.>>Mark: Walmart did indeed have something to do with this factory. Their faded glory shorts were pulled from the ashes. The company tried to distance itself from the tragedy, insisting Tazreen was not an authorized Walmart factory.>>There’s bars on every single window. How were these people supposed to get out of here?>>Mark: There was no escaping. (♪♪)>>Mark: I wonder for you, Sujeet, what is this building, what is this a symbol of to you?>>I think it’s shame. We should be ashamed of ourselves to let something like this happen. How was it possible that people didn’t know that this factory was built this way?>>Mark: This woman emerged from the crowd of the curious to tell us her story how workers knocked out a ventilation fan, and how she survived by jumping 3 storeys to the ground.>>Mark: Will you ever work again? Will you ever have another job after your injuries here?>>How am I supposed to work? I’m afraid to work and no one wants to take me. I can’t sit or lie down for a long time. I get better when I take medicine but when I don’t, it’s painful.>>Mark: With few prospects, she appears as disposable as the fast fashion she once made here.>>This could have been one of my prints. You know, snakeskin’s in. There it is. It could have been a shirt, a dress. Is it that important that you have to bar people into a building to meet our deadlines? It’s not, not for me. It’s disgusting.>>>Mark: So how did Walmart’s clothes end up at such a dangerous factory? An investigation by Walmart concluded one of its suppliers subcontracted part of the order to Tazreen without their permission. But how hard would it be for Canadian retailers to find out where their clothes are being made? we wanted to find out, so we bought a Walmart shirt in Canada that Sujeet had designed. Shipping records led us to a factory on the outskirts of Dhaka. The record names the factory: Hasan Tanvir. Walmart publishes a list of banned factories in Bangladesh, factories that have failed the company’s audits. And this factory has been on that list since June. We made repeated requests to visit the factory, but it wasn’t until we showed up with our camera that the manager would even talk to us. Hi, my name is Mark. I’m from Canada. Canadian television, how are you?>>Fine.>>Mark: We want to see where are clothes are being made and how they’re being made. And that’s why we came over here. I want to go inside and visit. But he wouldn’t let us in. Instead, he passed us off to another manager. Have you made this here? (traffic noises) (indiscernible chatter)>>Mark: We have a shipping record here that shows that it was made here.>>No.>>Mark: Hasan Tanvir Fashionwares This is your address, this is where this came from.>>That’s not mine.>>Hello? (traffic noises)>>Mark: He says he’s never seen this before, doesn’t recognize it, despite the fact that we have the shipping record right here that shows it was, in fact, made right there at Hasan Tanvir Fashionwares. Walmart puts it this way: They do make shirts here, but not our shirt. In fact 3 months after blacklisting this factory, Walmart admits they are still making clothes here, one last order they say. (♪♪)>>Mark: Since we couldn’t get in to meet the workers, then we would take Sujeet to meet them at home after work. This entire area here, everyone who lives here works in a garment factory. It’s like a compound of garment factory workers. So we’re going to go and meet some of them tonight.>>Okay.>>Mark: And here they are tonight.>>Oh wow.>>Mark: These are nine people who work at the factory.>>All right.>>Mark: They asked us to hide their faces, fearing they’d lose their jobs simply for talking to us. I want to know who are you making garments for now inside the factory?>>Canada, Canada, Canada.>>Mark: We hear that there are some problems working inside Hasan Tanvir. We’ve heard reports that there was a fire at the factory recently. Can they tell us what happened?>>(Through Interpreter): When the fire really started to spread, all the workers started to protest, they broke the gates open and escaped.>>They didn’t wanna let us out.>>They never wanna let us out. They just want to turn off the lights and keep us in there and say sit down, shut up and work. >>Mark: Do any of you worry that one day you may die in your factory?>>(Through translator): Of course.ough translator): Of>>Of course.>>(Through Interpreter): And it happens all the time. It happens regularly.>>Yeah, it happens all the time. Every few days there’s a fire.>>Mark: I want to know if you recognize this shirt? If any of you recognize having made this shirt over the past few months? Is this something that you made in the factory? We showed them Sujeet’s shirt that we bought in Canada.>>(Through Interpreter): Yeah, it’s from the 5th floor. I made it when I used to work on the 5th floor.>>So she worked on this garment?>>Mark: Yes.>>I designed this garment. I drew this garment.>>(Through translator): Look, I did this.>>You put these two pieces together. So you put the sleeve in. Thank you.>>Mark: How do you feel meeting the woman who made your design?>>I’m grateful to meet you. I wanted to meet you. It’s nice to finally be able to see you and tell you that I think that you should have a better life. (♪♪)>>Mark: Coming up, why were Joe Fresh clothes being made in the death trap that was Rana Plaza? We go inside a prison in Bangladesh looking for answers. (♪♪) (♪♪)>>Mark: Every piece of clothing we wear has a silent story stitched into it. The story of who made it and where. When Rana Plaza collapsed in April, those stories came spilling out. So, did the clothes from the ill fated factory ever make it to Canada? Well, we visited 6 stores in the Toronto area — with a hidden camera — 3 months after the Rana Plaza collapse. We found clothes made in Rana Plaza, in store after store.>>So I have a question.>>Mark: But you wouldn’t know it by asking the sales associates.>>There was only really one product we were making in that particular factory, it was this line of pants that we did. We never ended up getting them like, obviously. Like we just like got rid of it and everything.>>It’s doubtful that it was from that factory.>>That stuff that was made in that place never even made it here.>>Mark: Loblaws own shipping records reveal all these styles. Hundreds of thousands of styles. garments were made in Rana Plaza before the collapse and sold in Joe Fresh stores this summer. (♪♪)>>Mark: So how did clothes for Joe Fresh end up being made in the death-trap that was Rana Plaza. Well that’s a question we had for the factory owner. The problem is he’s behind bars, charged with negligence in the deaths of the workers. So “The Fifth Estate” petitioned the Bangladeshi government for permission to speak with him. The government eventually agreed but with one condition. Our camera would not be allowed inside the prison. (shouting in unison)>>Mark: As public outrage grew after the collapse, Bazlus Adnan surrendered to police. His three factories occupied almost half of Rana Plaza. We arrived at Dhaka central jail, where he’s awaiting trial. He began our interview saying how he parlayed an $8,000 loan from his dad in 1992, and turned it into a $15 million a year business, thanks in large part to his best customer, Joe Fresh.>>Joe Fresh was my biggest client, about $6 million a year. That is why I was going bigger.>>Mark: He says he was eager to please his biggest client, so work had begun on Rana Plaza to add a ninth floor for his booming business. I asked whether he was under pressure to make clothes cheaper, and faster.>>Everybody is doing this. They all squeezed me. But Joe Fresh was a very good customer. Their policy was just ship it on time.>>Mark: Before my time was up for the interview, I asked him to name one Loblaw employee who had ever visited his factory at Rana Plaza before the collapse. He couldn’t. This ledger helps explain how that could happen. From the entries here, we learned Loblaw placed orders with a buying house in India called House of Pearl, who, in turn, placed Joe Fresh orders with the factory at Rana Plaza. House of Pearl, we learned, hired inspectors to check the quality of the clothes made in Rana Plaza, but not to inspect building safety. Outsourcing ethical responsibility to third parties, enables companies like Loblaw to distance themselves from the work being done on the ground, according to our Canadian factory owner Barry Laxer. You know, after Rana Plaza happened all these retailers were saying, “well, we didn’t know.” Is that true? Did they not know what was going on in this country?>>A lot of companies just want cheap manufacturing. So, they don’t really look.>>Mark: Or ask the tough questions.>>Or ask the questions, Because if you don’t ask the questions, you don’t get the answers that you don’t want to hear.>>Mark: Was the Rana Plaza collapse — was this a wake-up call? I mean, do you really believe it’s going to change anything here?>>I think in the end a lot of companies are really just — are continuing just to look for margin and cost. And — and …>>Mark: Ultimately that’s why they’re here, right?>>That’s why they’re here. If that wasn’t the issue, they could be pro — they could be buying product made in the United States or Canada.>>Mark: We wanted to know more about the working conditions inside Rana Plaza. Who better to tell us than the people who worked there. After the collapse, cameras captured this footage of survivors recovering in Hospital. We were intrigued by this girl, who was trapped in the rubble for three days. pinned under two dead bodies. she lost her mother, as well as her leg. Both mother and daughter were making clothes for Joe Fresh.>>Mark: Months after the collapse, we finally found her. Her name is Aruti. She tells us she is 17, though her grandmother says she’s really 15. A kid making kids clothes for Canadians. Do you recognize these shorts? Like these shorts.>>(Through Interpreter): Yeah. These pants were there.>>Mark: She sewed pocket seams, 150 pockets an hour. How do you feel when you look at those pants?>>(Through Interpreter): I feel sad. If I didn’t work in that factory, this would not have happened. I feel very bad seeing these pants.>>Mark: She says she’s been Working in the industry for three years, meaning she started when she was just 12. Like many women in Bangladesh, she felt it was her only hope.>>(Through Interpreter): When I was little, I thought I would grow up, go to school, study, and have a job. If you study, you have a job, a doctor, a teacher. You can have any job. But I couldn’t do it, because I’m poor, I have to work to eat. That’s why I went into garment work.>>Mark: Aruti’s shift was punishing, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. And when a rush order was placed, overtime was demanded. How did your bosses treat you and the other workers?>>(Through Interpreter): If the others didn’t know how to do the work, they used to yell and swear. If I can’t work fast enough and meet the target, they’ll swear at me as well. I would feel really bad.>>Mark: She also remembers how cracks had been spotted inside Rana Plaza the day before the tragedy. The building was evacuated. She didn’t believe the building owner, who insisted everything was safe, just hours before the collapse. (Speaking Foreign Language)>>Mark: The next day, April 24th, her boss phoned her at home and ordered her to get back to work or she’d be fired. On that day that they told you to go back to work, were you afraid? Were you worried that that building was dangerous?>>(Through interpreter): There were many of us who didn’t want to go, but they forced us. They said, don’t worry, nothing will happen. If you die we wll die too. But they didn’t go inside. They made us start work and then left. I was scared. But there was nothing I could do. If I stopped working, the line would stop and I would be in trouble.>>Mark: She and her fellow workers returned. An hour later, the building collapsed. Aruti was on the 6th floor.>>Mark: What do you remember about the moment the building collapsed?>>(Through Interpreter): When it collapsed, I thought I wouldn’t survive. Two dead bodies fell on my leg and my leg was stuck there. The roof fell on top of the bodies. I didn’t know then that I would actually come out alive.>>Mark: Her family received some compensation from the government for the death of her mother and the loss of her leg. When asked what she received from Loblaw, she told us she’s still hoping. When we come back, we expose an even uglier side of the fashion industry in Bangladesh. (Chanting)>>Mark: You’ve been hit. You’ve been hit. (♪♪) (♪♪)>>Mark: After the collapse of Rana Plaza, the Bangladeshi government scrambled to assure nervous retailers and consumers that the country was a safe place to do business. But even Loblaw, who had been making Joe Fresh clothes in this country for 7 years, wondered how garment workers could be exposed to what it called unacceptable risk. So we took a closer look and discovered within 3 hours, how easy it was to find the ugly side of fast fashion. A factory dumping technicoloured waste water directly into a river. A river that now runs black. then we saw a jute factory with an open door that caught our eye. Inside, the air was thick with dust; dust from a toxic dye. Yet no one here wore a mask. Within minutes, we were kicked out by the owner and his thugs. (Speaking Foreign Language)>>Mark: Finally, we went into one last factory with a hidden camera.>>I show you very good factory. Everything in the one place.>>Mark: And found these children operating looms. One manager admitted some factory owners hire kids under the age of 10 for menial jobs, and pay them about a dollar a day. The garment industry has made some people in this country fabulously rich, but poverty is still everywhere you look. Some of the poorest are these squatters who live next to the railway tracks, in the shadow of wealth. This gleaming tower is home to the BGMEA. That’s the business group that represents the titans of the garment industry in Bangladesh. (Chanting)>>Mark: We arrived to find a thousand angry workers protesting outside. They say they haven’t been paid by their employer in a month. They work for a factory that until last fall, made clothes for Canadians. (Chanting)>>Mark: So what happened?>>Shoom, shoom, shoom.>>Mark: You’ve been hit. You’ve been hit. You’ve been hit. You’ve been hit. Who did this? Who did this? Who? The owners hired gangsters?>>Yes, yes, gangsters.>>Mark: And the gangsters came out here. And what were you doing? You were just protesting?>>Yes.>>Mark: You were protesting because you wanted your back-wages.>>Yes.>>Mark: You wanted your pay?>>Yes.>>Mark: And you make clothes for Canada?>>Yes.>>Mark: We had some questions for the powerful head of the garment industry, the top man Canadian retailers deal with. Atiqul Islam is a prominent factory owner in his own right. He’s made clothes for Walmart Canada, Loblaw and HBC. I asked him about the protest outside his window.>>This is completely open industry. If you don’t like there you can go the other work there. We have a 25% worker shortage in the industry, still today.>>Mark: In other words, if workers are abused, his advice? Quit and work somewhere else. When I ask him about the bad factories we saw, the child labor, the pollution, the dangerous working conditions, he wasn’t alarmed.>>A lot of factories are very state of the art.>>Mark: We’ve seen the nice ones. Weíve seen the state of the art. We’re seeing the example of where the industry is moving. But you’re at a point right now where there are some shiny examples but –>>So for that, sometimes the shiny is covered by the cloud. Of this kind of thing. So we need to clean the cloud.>>Mark: But what about illegal subcontracting, when one factory gives orders to another without approval?>>If the factories are overbooked, they must say no. I’m overbooked. As well as from the outside, the retailers side also.>>Mark: But you’re a businessman. Are they really going to say I’moverbooked and I can’t take the business?>>Yah, yah, yah.>>Mark: Everybody wants the business.>>No, no, no. It is not like that. Things are completely changed. It is not like that.>>Mark: We had spoken with some sources who work for Walmart Canada. They placed an order with your group, and they said that that order was then ended up being made at factory that was not approved, Hasan Tanvir.>>Hasan. Hasan Tanvir. Remember that Walmart shirt — well, we had questions about who exactly made it. We showed it to the workers and they say yah, we made it.>>It is very difficult for me to know if I’m making this number one. Number two, there’s no way that we’re giving the goods to the outside. It’s absolutely no way. Our all garments is made in our factory.>>Mark: But Walmart told us Mr. Islam did indeed have the contract to make Sujeet’s shirt. but at his own factory, not Hasan Tanvir. Thank you. Thank you, I’ll take that. You don’t need that.>>Can I just see this one thing. Just have a seat and I …>>Mark: Absolutely. And then something extraordinary happened after our interview wrapped up. Look in the background, as Mr. islam conceals the garment behind his desk with a pen in hand. After we left we noticed the tag on the shirt had been defaced. the barcode and the Canadian import number that could connect this shirt to Atiqul Islam’s company were blacked out. We asked him the next day if he did it. He denied it. As for Loblaw and Joe Fresh — the Canadian company insists it will help lead the way to clean up the industry in Bangladesh.>>Our industry can be a force for good. Properly inspected, well built factories play an important role in the development of countries such as Bangladesh.>>Mark: Did Loblaw properly inspect Rana Plaza before the collapse? They say they did visit the factory. So why were they still making clothes there? That’s what we wanted to ask Joe Mimran, but we were told he wasn’t available for an interview.>>I am troubled by the deafening silence from other apparel retailers on this issue.>>Mark: And while Loblaw CEO Galen Weston publicly criticizes other companies for their deafening silence, he, declined to be interviewed for this story. Loblaw did send us an email outlining their efforts to help workers in Bangladesh. They say since the collapse they’ve contributed a million dollars to two charities, and joined a compliance accord with other retailers aimed at improving working conditions in Bangladesh. And the company will now put boots on the ground somewhere in the region to inspect factories. But there’s another way. Canadian factory owner Barry Laxer wanted a safe factory, so he built one. It’s run by a Canadian team. And he visits it regularly.>>Mark: But what are the effects then of paying the cheapest possible price in a country like Bangladesh?>>Sooner or later there’ll be another Rana Plaza. It’s just a matter of time. Sooner or later there’ll be another fire somewhere that will claim more lives. Because Bangladesh is just the floor and the testing ground for how cheap products can be sold.>>Mark: Before former Walmart designer Sujeet Sennik left Bangladesh, we had one more stop to make. There’s one last thing i wanted to show you before you go. This is where Rana Plaza once stood.>>Oh my god. There’s nothing left. There are people walking around in Canada wearing clothes that were made by these people who died here. This is kind of a monument to greed.>>Mark: This is a product of the race to the bottom. So what are consumers to do? boycott clothes made in Bangladesh? The jobs are pulling millions of women out of poverty. Like Aruti who, despite her loss, knows has to go back to work. Especially now that her mother is gone and she’ll have to support her youngers sisters and her grandmother. Do you want to go back and work inside a garment factory now?>>(Through Interpreter): If I wanted to work in the factory, it’s not possible to walk back and forth and go up and down the stairs. I can’t do it yet. That’s the issue now. I will be able to go back, but I’m afraid. (♪♪)>>Mark: Well, after watching tonight’s episode, you may be wondering more about the clothes you buy and how they were made. Well, for some of the brands and lines of clothing that we mentioned on tonight’s program, you can find out more information by going to our website. That’s at Of course, we’ll continue to update that website with developments on this story in the weeks and months ahead. Stay with us, we’ll be right back after this. (♪♪)

100 Replies to “Made in Bangladesh – the fifth estate”

  1. superb effort .. the world needs to know this. North America and EU is flooded with skinny models declaring Black Friday and Merry Christmas discounts .. as millions of wage slaves can never afford anything they make … What a world…

  2. you feel proud with the high GDP….. you feel proud that bangladesh is the second fastest grwing economy in the world……this is how it happens…….

  3. when pepole go into sam's or cosco to buy stuff for there store do they check the building and make sure it was built safe?

  4. it is amazing the number of clothing we wear here in Canada without even realising they are made in Bangladesh, in these very dangerous factories ! I just checked by curiosity were my clothing I am currently wearing at the present moment comes from, and guess what it says on the label ? Made in Bangladesh ! I feel bad now for wearing these cloths knowing they are made either by child labourers receiving very little pay, whether or not it is made by children it will for sure be made by someone who receives very little pay for the amount of work and hours they are working, all of this done in a very dangerous factory with very little, if any, safety measures in place in case of a fire or other emergency ! ? Here in Canada, those people would be doing a very good living if they were paid the same as those working in clothing factories here in Canada ! these workers are almost like prisoners ! WE are complicit and in a way, responsible for this.. You cant say that Walmart, Jo fresh or any other clothing sellers, that are buying clothing from Bangladesh, don't know what is going on over there, because they do ! Money and profit are much more important tough ! business is business eh ? its not right from us to be turning a blind eye to this, I know it would not be logical to go somewhere else in another country, but at least the things we could do could be to send some people from Canada, to check these factories one by one, and eliminate each and every single one of them that doesn't comply with safety regulations that we have here in Canada ! It would force the ones who don't comply or care about the workers to change their way of running the business ! WE HAVE to do something because being passive like we are, and saying oh well, its not us who are forcing these workers to work in such appalling conditions… Yet we buy from them, so yes it does make us just as responsible for these workers working conditions, as those who actually own the factory making the cloths ! We could begin by stopping to order from them for a while to make the owners invest in proper safety devices and make the necessary changes in order to make the working environment more safe to work in, At least up to modern safety standards, that is the least they deserve for the amount of hours they put in with the very little pay they receive in exchange for their hard work ! we are stuck between should we buy cloths from Bangladesh, because of how low their salaries are and how little work protection they get, and if we don't buy them and stop ordering them from over there, how will this affect them? if they loose this job, it is the only bread winner they have, as little of a pay it may be, it is their only way to get money for the majority of them I am sure ! oh man… it makes you think of how good we have it here in Canada, yet we still dare to complain all the time !

  5. these guys all talk like politicians ! all talk but no actions ! yeah we're going to change things in Bangladesh, and invest in safety, yet they never did and never will! and even if they did or do end up investing in some kind of way to improve safety or working conditions, it will ALWAYS be the minimum required, and most of the time it will only be a big show, for them to be able to say '''hey you see, we did invest !'' when in reality they invested VERY LITTLE.

  6. The said thing about this is history repeats. Look up the triangle shirt fire in nyc over a 100 years ago. 100 of girl and women died in the fire and jumping out windows. Clearly we never learn.

  7. You guys always speak about the safe work place. But when you come to buy clothing from Bangladesh you never give the actual price.

  8. Only Bangladesh can help Bangladesh. This is true of every nation, any community and any culture. I don't know the answer but it certainly is not to be found in Canada. One shouldn't rely on others. If your business community's culture is how it is then the fault lies within Bangladesh. Until that is changed what can anyone from abroad do but stop sourcing clothes from Bangladesh but China instead? Such collapses don't happen there. So the fault lies in Bangladesh and Bangladeshis.
    I wish this was not so, but it is.

  9. It's terrible that companies exploit the people of such places who have no choice but to work in such conditions because there is no 'otherwise' for them. And it's not something that looks like it's going to change anytime soon… I'm just curious, but if people did start to boycott products or companies that outsource labor or have their things made in Bangladesh, would it really help the people living there or just send them into worse poverty and make them find worse jobs?

  10. One group of garment and textile business owners are not willing to raise the minimum wages for the workers in Bangladesh because the raising wages may pause to earn the maximum profit over the garment. It has both positive and negative effects like it helps to attract the foreign investor but the local worker wouldn’t get anything out of this sector. Sad to see that BGMEA doesn’t do anything about it but they just saying that we would have done ✅ it actually it was just up to their mouth but that hasn’t happened since the garment industry established in Bangladesh 🇧🇩

  11. I was born and raised in Bangladesh .After you guys see this full documentary you may suggest to boycott these companies but things are changed now.Lot of big companies changed their factory environment and attitude to employees.But we need supports from Buyers about pricing.Pricing going down.You can,t improve the situation with very cheap price.

  12. Thanks. Really touched my heart. I love watching these because it makes me feel like I've got it going for me. I feel bad for these people and I want to help.

  13. Very interesting video. We just made one focused on how automation is impacting the textile industry:

  14. Why maximum buyers refused India and Vietnam??? We Bangladeshi more trusted professional and we always support with heartedly respect buyers

  15. Corporations will always only have only aim, to make huge money. But the truth is, even the goverments of these poor countries really don't care.

    Nowadays the politicians of developed and developing countries everywhere, aim to develop this third world social structure in their own countries. Eliminate the middle class, push them all to poverty and then the rich can do whatever they want.

    Because the poor will be too weak and desperate to fight for themselves. And the rich know it's always the middle class that can fight for equality.

    The scenario in this documentary is the future for every common folks everywhere.

  16. This is so sad, I have been in Bangladesh since I’m from Bangladesh. There are so many people who are homeless and even have no legs or arms. It’s hard for people to get a job there and people would even cycle people to their destination for 10 taka, which isn’t even 1 Canadian dollar. It’s sad for people to take advantage of people in poverty or even people who are homeless.

  17. I really hope they helped these people they interveiwed and gave them money 🙁 so sad this world is so evil

  18. After seeing this I'm curious to know did recent suicide victim Kate Spade have her clothes, purses etc. Made In Bangladesh at all and may she have been part of the reason for the deaths of these workers, hence why she may have committed suicide????

  19. ……I ended up looking through my clothes to see if I could find anything with "made in Bangladesh" on it. Well most of the labels were worn out so I couldn't read it, and the only thing I could find with the label was something I got from a thrift store, so. I know boycotting isn't the answer but I kinda feel good that I didn't contribute as far as I can tell. Also I never realized how many of my clothes were secondhand, so hey.. helping with the fast fashion crap, right…?

  20. More than putting responsibility to the customers, the government is also at fault here. They ought to inspect, give certification, ensure drills, safety codes etc.

  21. It’s really sad how consumer demand in the west for cheap product creates these terrible conditions and hazards for the people who manufacture the products. It’s a vicious cycle that won’t stop until the demand stops which won’t happen until we have no money at all to spend due to not having jobs that have been exported to these third world countries that it won’t matter how cheap it is because we are broke! We need to value quality, well made, domestic products and bring the work back home. Then the people in those countries can focus on actually learning a craft and about quality and have something worthy to pass on to their future generations instead of just being a disposable pair of hands.

  22. Getting conditions up to code had many costs involved, which winds up costing the factory owners more and cuts into their margins or raises their prices which jeopardize the orders. I witnessed the exact same issues with China production which mostly is up to code now and workers there have many more benefits which ultimately led to companies seeking out manufacturers in countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam. It’s a Horrible screwed up situation. The problem with globalization and free trade.

  23. System has been changed in Bangladesh. Now no building collapse happens in Bangladesh.

    The documentary is true.But discouraging investments will ruin our economy..

    we are trying to make a massive change.
    No indifference about safety will be ensured soon.

    European union and western garments buyers started monitoring and mentoring about safety and security.

    Government is also in strict position to make an endurable and totally safe industry .

    We produce and sell garments good with honesty.

  24. I heard that story from my bengali freind.. He said the owner of rana plaza his a politician of current government Sheikh Hasina.. Rana had lot of benifit from gov to do this building.. Rana loot lot of money from people..

  25. 21st century slavery. The men and gov’t leadership in Bangladesh are failures. They can’t protect and love their people better than this? You reap what you sow. Hats off to this investigative reporting.

  26. When workers demand more reasonable pay

  27. "Bangladesh has one of the world's densest populations, political instability, and world-class corruption."  Well, I think we found the problem.  He didn't mention an absence of the rule of law.  Companies are not responsible for what those governments allow to happen in their countries or their awful infrastructure.  Stop the guilt tripping.

  28. This is just terrible. They should make the buildings properly and not barricade the windows.
    Those people should be able to leave when they want to. Just terrible.

  29. 30:30–32:00 when they were interviewing the injured girl, she was constantly looking down at her lap or smt. Was she reading a script??

  30. I had to write a paper on this documentary and it hurt to see all these innocent people working in these harsh conditions. It stings.

  31. The US has business with them too. Why doesn't trump take those business out of third world countries and force these companies to only manufacture inside the USA????
    I still say boycott these products. Bangladesh will need to find a new industry.

  32. The last guy on interview ' Atiqul Islam '.. He is now the city mayor.

    "It’s the businessmen who later be a politicians and after 5 years of term he again be a business with money and power abducted from that 5 years term "

  33. Shame! Shame! Shame! Are we really human? Mayor Atiqul islam vai Zindabad. We need money, we don’t care about poor people life.

  34. I am an industrial engineer actively associated with this sector for last 5 years.Boycotting those factory is not the solution definitely.Top buyers should make a fund and provide to those sub-contact company for long term a occupational safety assurance.One of the main thing they can do for buying agreement come directly to Bangladesh rather than via Honkong or India.This type 3rd party transaction cut our CM cost.So better come directly pay us whole bread which is being shared till now.By this it is possible to change the situation.

  35. Just to assure everyone here, Bangladeshi authority has taken every steps it can take to increase the safety of the factory workers.

  36. Atiq is now meyor of dhaka, no way he can be compared with the late anisul haque. I still miss him, he was doing a great job.

  37. That fashion designer is a beautiful gentle man.
    Mr Islam who defaced the garment tag is a lying and dishonest man, to say the absolute least.

  38. The damn government let these down, factories are monsters who don’t care who dies and who don’t . And $30 dollars a month? Are you kidding me, it’s totally slavery

  39. 38:00 …
    This part saying that->
    We are living with some devil, behind their beautiful face… They are destroying this country for some green paper 💰

  40. That thief is now Mayor Of that Country

    SO RICH foreign people please don't donate your money to the 3rd world country because your money only get to the boat of the Rich people.

  41. Like it or not, this is how countries like Bangladesh pull themselves out of poverty. If we boycott 'Made in Bangladesh ', these people will lose their jobs. This is a job for unions

  42. 35:30 – 38:32 Former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association is now Mayor of Dhaka (North). Only in Bangladesh 🙂

  43. A volunteer rescuer of Rana Plaza Tragedy lost mental balance after seeing people buried under the rubble. A few days ago hw committed suicide.

  44. I am a Canadian from Bangladesh, I was born and raised in Bangladesh until the age of 3. I could be possibly wearing clothes that caused the suffering of people from my own background at this very moment. It makes me feel ashamed. I feel like I'm wearing a shirt with the message of betrayal and lies. Who made my clothes?

  45. I mean all you people who are buying $12.99 shirts and $20.00 sneakers… Do you really think that clothing that cheap is made in safe, sustainable factories?? Either buy used quality clothes or pay the extra for sustainable brands. Buy from companies that make clothings in first-world countries.

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