By guest author Safaa Kasraoui from Kohan Textile Journal Team
Despite working illegally and subjecting their workers’ to inhumane conditions, clandestine Moroccan textile companies supply renowned European brands, including Zara and Mango.
A Spanish news outlet put the spotlight on illegal textile factories, saying that European clothing brands.
Spanish news outlet Cadenaser put a spotlight on the recent Tangier tragedy, an event that claimed 29 people. On February 8, floods stormed a residential villa that hosted an illegal sweatshop. A short circuit caused the death of 28 workers.
Dozens of men and women worked at the clandestine textile factory. The incident caused uproar among Moroccans, with the event making international headlines.
The situation also brought attention to the lack of monitoring in textile factories. Cadenaser blamed the tragedy on European coveted brands.
“Behind all this are the big European clothing brands,” the Spanish newspaper reported
The news outlet quoted an activist who said that such textile companies supply renowned brands, including Zara, Mango, and other multinational companies.
It also cited NGOs in Morocco denouncing exploitation and the inhumane working conditions in illegal textile factories across the country.
The NGOs describe the working conditons as “very close to slavery.”
The organisations also called on Europe to push for a law that will end such tragedies.
A 2018 report by the General Confederation of Enterprises in Morocco (CGEM) said that the informal sector represents 20% of the country’s gross domestic product.
The report shows that at least 2.4 million Moroccans work in dire conditions without social security or medical insurance.
The textile industry makes up 54 % of Morocco’s informal sector.
The statistics indicate that more than one million textile workers in Morocco, including mostly women could be working in “secret” sweatshops.
In 2014, a Spanish documentary recorded footage of three similar underground sweatshops that do not respect safety regulations.
The documentary shows businessmen overwhelm employees with working in clandestine establishments.
“My workers will work day and night to prepare your order,” one of the employers told the Spanish journalist after he inquired about the possibility of making a large order under a tight deadline.