Walmart, Target, Hanes, Macy’s Linked to Jordan “Rape Factory”

by , 08/08/11   filed under: The Big Idea, Walmart, Worker Rights

human rights

Photo by carool

Some of the biggest names in American retail have been linked to a Jordanian garment factory that allegedly rapes, tortures, and abuses its female workers, according to a report by the Institute of Global Labour and Human Rights, formerly known as the National Labor Committee. In a petition on, the human-rights organization accuses supervisors at Classic Factory, which supplies clothing to Walmart, Target, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Hanes, and Land’s End, of sexually assaulting dozens of migrant workers from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, most of whom are virtually imprisoned in dilapidated surroundings. “We only went to Jordan to earn money to help our families,” says a young woman who goes by the name “Nazma” to protect her identity. “We had no idea that factory managers would rape so many of us young girls.”


The group’s findings are the result of six-month undercover effort, says Charles Kernaghan, its director and lead author of the study. “One young rape victim told us her assailant, a manager, bit her, leaving scars all over her body,” he says. “Women who become pregnant are forcibly deported and returned to Sri Lanka. Women who refuse the sexual advances of Classic‘s managers are also beaten and deported.”

In addition to 13-hour shifts at the rate of 61 cents per hour, workers are “routinely cursed at, hit, and shortchanged of their wages.”

In addition to 13-hour shifts six or seven days a week, at the rate of 61 cents per hour, workers are “routinely cursed at, hit, and shortchanged of their wages” for failing to meet minimum production goals, according to eyewitness accounts. “To press the women to work faster, managers grope and fondle them,” Kernaghan adds. They’re also forced to live in bedbug-infested dormitories, without heat or hot water.

Although Jordan’s Ministry of Labor has been made aware of the allegations as early as 2007, he says, it has done nothing. Neither have the American corporations that continue to buy Classic clothing and claim no evidence of wrongdoing. “The minimal efforts of Walmart, Hanes, and the other labels to monitor factory conditions at Classic,” says Kernaghan, who wants the companies to immediately remove the accused perpetrators, compensate the victims, and enforce the worker’s rights laws in the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement.

“All we can do is cry,” Nazma says. “We ask the people who buy our garments, please end this abuse and torture we face. We should be able to work without fear of sexual assault.”

+ Petition at

+ Institute of Global Labour and Human Rights

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6 Responses to “Walmart, Target, Hanes, Macy’s Linked to Jordan “Rape Factory””

  1. cfcamericadotorg says:

    I am not void of feeling for these people, but I have to say, why not have this passion for the innocent victims, and their are THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS, innocent children and families right here in these United States who are being Raped every day by the United States Government and Lawmakers around the nation.
    Congressman Bobby Scott stated, on video, Once a person is placed upon the public sex offender registry, basically their life is over… that is true as well of their innocent children. Look into this.. What happens to a family if ONE member is on the public sex offender registry? Google cfcamerica

  2. leosoup says:

    Obviously you have no clue what you’re even talking about. This isn’t a post that is trying to “fight rape” in it’s total form. There’s no way we can “stop rape” altogether. However, if these factories were located in the USA, the basic human rights would be upheld by law. Rape cases could easily go to trial because women have the rights here that women in Sri Lanka do not. Putting pressure on the companies that support this slave labor/sweatshop bullshit is the only way to revolutionize this torture. BUY AMERICAN. BUY ETHICAL. BUY GREEN. Politicians only do what pays to be done. Take your money out of the equation and take back your power. CONSUMER REVOLUTION NOW. (also, feel free to help any rape victims in the USA, but don’t feel free to over simplify issues like this and make ill comparisons that make absolutely no sense)

  3. Jupe says:

    Well that crosses Target, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Hanes, and Land’s End off my shopping list. Walmart was already off the list. For hopefully obvious reasons.

  4. webzooey says:

    I’ve shared this widely via email and Facebook. I was only shopping at Macy’s for some U.S.-made jeans they carry, but I can find those elsewhere. No more. Glad I’ve taken up knitting and sewing again to broaden my options (which are Etsy, thrift shops, and a few local places), because it’s becoming nearly impossible to shop anywhere. So angry, so disgusted. The executives of companies that source from such places should be forced to spend as many hours in these places, under the same conditions. The jobs have been outsourced, so let’s outsource the executives too.

  5. Send Help to These Women says:

    These women NEED their jobs. Their desperate situations force them to work in appalling and dangerous conditions. Boycotting these stores won’t necessarily help their plight but having a voice will!

  6. aya says:

    The boycotting should be against the country all together. How is that even possible that Jordan’s Ministry Of Labor knows of this and does nothing???!!!! This is a reflection on the whole country. Such countries should not be traded with at all. full stop.

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