‘World’s Most Transparent’ brand of 2020, H&M has been called out yet again for not addressing gender-based violence across its supply chains. On January 5, a 20-year-old female Dalit worker was allegedly raped and murdered by her immediate supervisor at one of its supplier factories- Natchi Apparels. The victim reported to work on January 1 but never made it back home. 4 days later her body was found by farmers in a nearby wasteland. Prior to her death, the supplier received a lot of complaints of sexual harassment against the supervisor. Seven women at Natchi Apparels testified the fact that the victim was being sexually harassed by the supervisor on many occasions leading to her death. According to the reports, the accused supervisor has also confessed to his crimes.
Despite his confession, H&M still refuses to terminate operations with the supplier firm. Denying previous cases of gender-based violence at the factory in question, the fast-fashion brand has set up an independent investigation to look into the matter. It is reported that Eastman export, India’s 4th largest export company of western brands, that owns Natchi Apparels sent a mob of 50 people at the victim’s home to forcefully accept a cheque for around $7000 and release H&M’s supplier of any accountability for the Dalit worker’s death.
The fast-fashion brand is still tight-lipped about this whole scenario and refused to comment infuriating many people. Post canceling the bulk orders back in lockdown, this is the second time the brand has been called out. What are your thoughts on this?
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