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Tirupur and the influence of MNC's

Updated: Jan 6



Tirupur, located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, continues to experience the probable outcomes resulting from multinational corporate (MNC) oversight.


The city’s 1.5 million citizens[1] bear witness to continual counts of child labour[2], indebted servitude/modern day slavery, environmental destruction[3], as well as forced labour and sexual and gender-based violence[4]. These are propagated through the unethical MNC utilization of the “growth at all costs” business model. Brands/MNC’s overseeing these exploits have included, but are not limited to: Puma, the Gap[5], Adidas, C&A, H&M, Nike, Primark, Walmart[6], Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, M&S, FILA, and Reebok[7]. At this point it is common knowledge that all these brands continue to be distinguished through their rampant corporate exploits and human rights abuses[8] [9] [10].


Further, the interweaving of corporate greed with particular social and religious customs

have led to what is known as the Sumangali scheme. This, mentioned in the introductory blog, is believed to have developed in the 1990’s[11]; the same time MNC’s began to heavily capitalize from outsourcing work to developing (in other words, exploited) nations[12]. Sumangali, translating as “happily married woman”, is a scheme in which young women are typically hired for a period of 3 years and paid one lump sum at the end of it; this payment believed to aid in presenting a wedding gift and/or dowry[13]. Living in hostels owned by the companies, these women inevitably are coerced into working unpaid overtime, face emotional and physical abuse, endure sexual harassment, and/or experience unexpected changes in their contracts[14].


It is for the above reasons that Justice in Fashion continues to explore worker experiences in Tirupur’s garment factories, as well as the factors which have led to such exploitation occurring in the region.


[1] worldpopulationreview.com. (2021). Tiruppur Population 2021 (Demographics, Maps, Graphs). [online] Available at: https://worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/tiruppur-population [Accessed 8 Aug. 2021].

[2] Anti-Slavery International (2012). Slavery on the high street Forced labour in the manufacture of garments for international brands. [online] Available at: https://www.antislavery.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/1_slavery_on_the_high_street_june_2012_final.pdf [Accessed 2 Aug. 2021]. [3] Prabha, S., Gogoi, A., Mazumder, P., Ramanathan, AL. and Kumar, M. (2016). Assessment of the impact of textile effluents on microbial diversity in Tirupur district, Tamil Nadu. Applied Water Science, [online] 7(5), pp.2267–2277. Available at:


http://indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/textile%20effluents%20on%20microbial%20diversity.pdf [Accessed 8 Aug. 2021]. [4] LeBaron, G.P., Howard, N., Thibos, C. and Kyritsis, P. (2018). Confronting root causes: forced labour in global supply chains. [online] Available at: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/145637779.pdf [Accessed 2 August, 2021]. [5] Saini, M. (2018). India’s Knitwear Capital Strives to Ensure Its Future. [online] WWD. Available at: https://wwd.com/business-news/markets/indias-knitwear-capital-strives-to-ensure-its-future-1202911943/ [Accessed 8 Aug. 2021]. [6] Crane, A, Soundararajan, V, Bloomfield, MJ, Spence, L & LeBaron, G 2019, Decent Work and Economic Growth in the South Indian Garment Industry. University of Bath. <https://www.bath.ac.uk/publications/decent-work-and-economic-growth-in-the-south-india-garment-industry/attachments/decent-work-and-economic-growth-in-the-south-india-garment-industry.pdf> [7] SAVE NGO (2021). Social Awareness and Voluntary Education (SAVE). [online] www.savengo.org. Available at: https://www.savengo.org/tiruppur.php [Accessed 2 Aug. 2021]. [8] Klein, N. (2000). No Logo: taking aim at the brand bullies. New York: Picador USA. [9] Hyun-su, Y. (2021). Fila stays silent after Chinese unit vows to continue using Xinjiang cotton. [online] The Korea Herald. Available at: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20210330000885 [Accessed 2 Aug. 2021]. [10] Ross, B., Mosk, M. and Galli, C. (2012). Workers Die at Factories Used by Tommy Hilfiger. [online] ABC News. Available at: https://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/workers-die-factories-tommy-hilfiger/story?id=15966305.

[11] Solidaridad-South and Southeast Asia and Fair Labor Association (2012). RESEARCH REPORT: Understanding the Characteristics of the Sumangali Scheme in Tamil Nadu Textile & Garment Industry and Supply Chain Linkages. [online] Available at: https://www.fairlabor.org/sites/default/files/understanding_sumangali_tamil_nadu_0.pdf [Accessed 8 Aug. 2021]. [12] Klein, N. (2000). No Logo: taking aim at the brand bullies. New York: Picador USA. [13] Solidaridad-South and Southeast Asia and Fair Labor Association (2012). RESEARCH REPORT: Understanding the Characteristics of the Sumangali Scheme in Tamil Nadu Textile & Garment Industry and Supply Chain Linkages. [online] Available at: https://www.fairlabor.org/sites/default/files/understanding_sumangali_tamil_nadu_0.pdf [Accessed 8 Aug. 2021]. [14] Ibid.


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