What's Life In A Sweatshop Like? Ask This 9-Year Old Manager



What's it like to work in a sweatshop? The underbelly of global labor is rarely exposed to the light of day, but one reporter for the Toronto Star successfully landed a gig over the summer working undercover trimming threads at a garment factory in Bangladesh for the purpose of documenting the experience. And very early in her tenure, Raveena Aulakh found out just how extreme such a workplace can be -- her manager was a 9-year old girl named Meem. Aulakh documented the experience in a series, entitled, "Clothes On Your Back."

Meem's official title is "sewing helper" in the factory. The report said the factory has no name, employs about 45 people, and is run by a man named Hamid. It's located in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka in an area "clogged with rickshaws, crowded buses and fancy cars," according to the Toronto Star report.

Factory life
The factory had poor to no windows or lighting, no fire extinguishers and a toilet that qualified as more of a hole than a passable restroom, according to the report. (The report didn't specify which retailers work with the factory, but the country's factories are known to serve western retailers.) Meem, for her part, ended up in the job as the result of a "fairly common story among poor Bangladeshi families: too many mouths to feed, too few bringing in money," according to Aulakh.

Originally published