Crowdsourced Data on the Bangladesh Apparel Supply Chain

Workers across Bangladesh tell us about critical issues in their own factories


factories represented*


total calls*


workers calling in*

* January-June 2016

Fire Safety Risk

Low Moderate Elevated High

Worker Quotes

"The factory I work in is very good. Rules and regulations are good and are followed properly. We don't do duty more than 10 hours a day and get off around 5-7 pm. There is not sexual harassment or abuse. The environment is very clean, too."

Pioneer Apparels Ltd. (April 09, 2016)

"In our factory, they don't pay us overtime properly. They pay our basic salary but late, on the 10th, or the 12th. It is the 3rd of the month and we still haven't received last month's overtime payment."

Jantex Apparels Ltd. (May 03, 2016)

"In our factory, they pay us on time. But the supervisors verbally abuse us. When buyers visit, the child laborers are let go for a few days and when they leave, the child laborers come back. There are some facilities more or less, but the verbal abuse is too much. Since there are not many women, they don't revolt. If they do, they will be fired. There is some child labor."

Geebee Bangladesh Ltd. (June 10, 2016)

"Our factory is very good. We don't work over 9 hours. We either do 1 or 1 and a half hours of overtime."

Ayesha Clothing Company Ltd. (June 23, 2016)

"They don't pay us our salaries with overtime properly. Our building is outdated and they do not renovate it."

Globus Garments Ltd. (April 30, 2016)

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Frequently Asked Questions

What data is LaborVoices releasing now?

LaborVoices is now releasing data from January - June 2016, covering the first 85 factories in our database, which represents about 3% of the country's apparel export sector. The release includes a heat map that classifies factories based on fire safety risk (on this page), and a PDF report that includes a rank-ordered list of all factories based on their performance in critical social compliance issues like fire safety, child labor, worker abuse, and others.

How was this data collected?

LaborVoices reaches workers directly in their communities, outside of factories, and introduces them to Symphony, our platform for collecting factory data. In some cases, we also work with specific factories to train workers at their facilities. Workers place a toll-free call to the system from their mobile phones (no internet access required) within a few minutes of being introduced to us, and record their first response. By providing workers information about their rights and benefits, as well as factory ratings, we keep them engaged with our platform to provide data regularly.

What are the key takeaways from the data release?

Child labor and fire safety standards in Bangladesh represent an imminent risk for products made by several major brands. More than three years since the Rana Plaza tragedy that cost more than a thousand lives, six of the 10 apparel brands sourcing from Bangladesh on Forbes’ list of the World’s Most Valuable Brands are at a “moderate” or higher risk of child labor as well as fire safety. 17 factories (20% of our sample) are at an “elevated” or “high” risk of child labor. 51 factories (60% of our sample) are at an “elevated” or “high” risk of fire safety violations.

This dataset is the first of its kind in scale and coverage. Responses from 85 factories (about 3% of sector) and more than 5,000 apparel factory workers (about 2 in 1000 workers, sector-wide). Brands such as Walmart, Target, C&A, Zara, Columbia Sportswear, Nike, Adidas, H&M, Levi’s, Louis Vuitton and Tesco (over 30 global brands total) source from the factories in this report, based on public supplier lists.

Why are you doing this?

Since 2010, we have been working to bring bottom-up transparency to global supply chains by enabling workers to give anonymous, real-time feedback on their own working conditions. In 2016, we launched Symphony, a SaaS platform, in Bangladesh’s apparel sector. Symphony reaches workers directly, which means we get access to reliable data quickly and an ongoing basis.

We want to use this data to drive sector-wide improvements in working conditions, by providing positive recognition for the top factories as well as incentives for factories to make improvements and address issues. Currently, we are engaging in conversations with brands, regulators and NGOs who may be interested in taking action around this data.

What's next?

We’re just getting started! We’re currently working on scaling Symphony across all of Bangladesh’s apparel sector, and are on track to hit 10% of the sector by December 2016. We plan to refresh this data periodically, every 6 months or so, as our database grows.

Additionally, we recently launched Symphony in Turkey, where we are particularly excited about using Symphony to help detect and prevent child labor and other abuses to Syrian migrant workers.