It is a little known reality that over 200,000 vulnerable young women and girls mainly age 14 to 23 are trafficked into spinning, weaving and dyeing mills in the Tamil Nadu region of India.
These women and girls are deceived with false promises of a good job and a lump sum payment which will help their families escape a life of poverty, under the guise of an ‘apprenticeship’ scheme called Sumangali.
Once recruited the life they find in the mills is one of exploitation, abuse and dangerous working conditions.
Guarded by the male factory employees with only limited contact with their families or the outside world, they are forced to work often up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week or more. Many of the women and girls find themselves trapped within a factory for up to five years; two out of three never receive the promised lump sum.
The stories of these girls are woven into the cotton they spin every day. This fabric is sold into fashion supply chains all over the world. We are each intimately connected with their story as it is weaved into the clothes that we buy and wear.