Lured by dreams of financial independence, Bangladeshi girls and women become no more than slaves in sweatshops for the globalized world’s most popular clothing brands.
The Branded Girls was an official selection of the 2011 WVN Online Film Festival.
In Bangladesh, girls and women earn less than a minimum wage in sweatshops that produce clothing for the world’s top brands. The garment workers were lured by dreams of financial independence. In reality, the women become slave labor. They are forced to work for more than ten hours a day, seven days a week. Many women complain of harassment at the factories, both rude behavior and sexual assaults. In many cases, women are attacked when they are returning home after night shifts. There is no insurance and no medical compensation. The garment factories continue to lure hundreds of thousands of young girls and children each year. Their jobs are insecure, poorly paid and do not have any social protection. Studies show that these women and their families have been particularly badly hit by the global financial crisis. For all of that reason it was important for me to make this film.
Thousands of women migrated from Bangladesh’s villages to Dhaka to join the 3.6 million work force involved in the country’s $19 billion ready-made garment industries. This is the second largest rate in the world. Every year, more than 400,000 people come to Dhaka from villages in search of a livelihood. Dhaka is the fastest growing megacity in the world. About 80 percent of the three million garment workers in Bangladesh are women. They all have similar stories – there were no jobs in their villages so they migrated to Dhaka. I want to raise awareness for those voiceless women who are struggling and fight for their rights. They need life security and social protection.