TRAID has launched an urgent appeal to get food to destitute migrant garment workers in Tamil Nadu, India – one of the world’s major exporters of cotton wear.

Can you help support 1,120 destitute migrant garment worker and their families who have been fired from their jobs in garment factories and spinning mills? They have no income and no food. Just £5 will support one family with food for one week to see them through this crisis.

The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare the inequalities and exploitation of workers by the fashion industry. Right now, millions of garment workers around the world – most already living hand-to-mouth – have been laid off as fashion brands have stopped, paused and reneged on orders and in doing so, have left the poorest and most vulnerable workers without income or food in their supply chains.

The scale and speed of how this crisis has impacted garment workers has been staggering, exposing the routine exploitation of fashion’s workers, the industry’s reliance on extremely cheap labour, the inability of garment workers to save due to poverty wages and the economies of dependency on which the fashion industry’s business model is predicated. In Bangladesh alone, according to the Bangladeshi and Garment Manufacturers Exporters Association (BGMEA) at least a million Bangladeshi garment workers have been laid off after well-known high street brands have cancelled or held back on orders.

What can we do about it? While the Covid-19 has brought fear and uncertainty, it has also triggered local, national and global solidarity, from neighbours shopping and looking out for each other, to millions raised for the NHS, and to support and recognition for those around the world, like garment workers, hit hardest by this crisis.

Just a small amount of money will help to see 1,120 destitute migrant garment workers and their families through this crisis. Your donations will go directly to these families where our partner READ is providing them with rice, wheat flour, oil and dhal until they are allowed to return to their home states. Karuppasamy Raman, Director of READ said,

“Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, we are focussing all our efforts on helping inter-state migrant garment workers and their families who are facing destitution and the challenges of finding food, health care and shelter. Any donation you make at this difficult time will provide significant and immediate relief on these families. Thank you for your support and solidarity.”

Right now, this crisis means that these garment works need food. In the longer-term, it vividly demonstrates that structural changes are urgently needed to continue challenging the normalisation of exploitation labour in the fashion industry.

Find out more about the appeal here.