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Mantis shines a light on continuing exploitation in clothing industry

Mantis World has helped raise awareness of women garment factory workers subjected to modern slavery by sponsoring a film that explores the clothing industry.

The True Cost, by documentary maker, Andrew Morgan is about clothing, the people who make them and the impact it’s having on our world. While the price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. 

Although the film’s focus is on fast fashion, the points raised are relevant to the printwear and promowear industry. Speaking at a debate held after the screening, Prama Bhardwaj, CEO and founder of Mantis World said: “Companies can and should be responsible to account for their actions – we already do that financially and if businesses were made to reveal the environmental and social cost of operations just as they have to fill in a tax return the impact would be huge. If done correctly the garment industry has huge potential to benefit women in the global economy.”

Dr Alessandra Mezzadri, lecturer at SOAS, which hosted the event, said: “This movie shows that poverty and environmental degradation do not persist despite the process of globalisation, but because of it. In fact, it shows how poverty is structured through labour, and manufactured on the same assembly line producing our ridiculously cheap T-shirts.”

Other speakers called for international labour standards to be upheld by garment companies, and for them to play a greater role in changing the system. 

Sponsorship raised by the event will go to support charities Asian Circle and Oxfam in helping the Adivasi tribal women in India and to challenge violence against women in the subcontinent and other areas.

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