Society

Customer Finds Cry For Help Sewn Into $16 Dress By Bangladesh Factory Worker

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A woman in Wales was shocked to find a disturbing message sewn into a $16 dress she bought from Primark – a clothing store which manufactures in Bangladesh.

"I was amazed when I checked for the washing instructions and spotted this label,” Rebecca Gallagher, 25, told the South Wales Evening Post.

"It was stitched by hand to say 'Forced to work exhausting hours.'

"To be honest, I've never really thought much about how the clothes are made. But this really made me think about how we get our cheap fashion,” she said. "I dread to think that my summer top may be made by some exhausted person toiling away for hours in some sweatshop abroad."

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Primark came under scrutiny after the eight-story Rana Plaza building collapsed in Savar, Bangladesh, on April 24, 2013. The building housed thousands of garment workers making products for numerous brands, including Primark and the Benetton Group. While 1,129 people died, another 2,500 were injured.

Gallagher says she will not wear the dress again.

"I've got no idea who put it there but it really took the wind out of my sails,” she said. “It makes me think that it was a cry for help — to let us people in Britain know what is going on.

"I would dread to think that this might involve child labor and people's terrible working conditions,” she added. "You hear all sorts of stories about people working in sweatshops abroad — it made me feel so guilty that I can never wear that dress again."

She says she tried contacting Primark without any success.

"I even rung Primark to ask them about it. But I was put on hold for 15 minutes before being cut off,” she said.

A Primark spokesman told the newspaper that they want to see the dress.

"We would be grateful if the customer would give us the dress, so we can investigate how the additional label became attached and whether there are issues which need to be looked into,” the spokesman said.

Sources: South Wales Evening Post, Dazed