Most of us have a favourite pair of jeans. Many of us live in them. Yet slave free jeans are a rare commodity. There is a risk of forced labour being used at every stage of the process in creating a pair of jeans.
Denim is made from cotton and 9 out of the top 10 countries producing cotton use forced or child labour. If the cotton is spun in India, 60% of workers in spinning mills are under 18 and 10-20% are under 14. Many of these children live as slaves. Once spun the cotton needs to be woven. 20-30% of the Malaysian workforce are migrants. There is a high risk they have been charged recruitment fees they cannot repay and their passports have been taken away from them by their recruiters until the fee is paid.
The garment workers who sew the jeans may be lucky enough to be paid a minimum wage, but that will scarcely cover their rent and food, even if they work 12 hours a day.
We are looking for jeans brands which pay a fair living wage to their garment workers and ensure that all workers involved in the making of their jeans are treated well. We have added a few of these brands below, but if you know of any more, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org