Would you continue to wear your favorite shirt if you knew a 13 year old girl in Bangladesh who works 19 hours every day and makes 38 dollars a month is the one who made it? Would you continue to buy from your favorite brand if you knew the workers who produced their clothing worked in dangerous, inhumane conditions while the company looked the other way and allowed it so they could meet their quotas and stock the shelves ahead of their competitors?
Corban Addison’s “A Harvest of Thorns” is based off events that happened in 2012 when a fire broke out in the Tazreen Fashions Factory in Dhaka, Bangldesh. The eight story building had no fire escapes, no emergency exits and the windows in every room were covered with iron bars. 117 workers died that night with another 200 injured. They were working overtime on what was supposed to be their holiday to fulfill a last minute order for Walmart. Now we all know that had this happened in America there would have been a huge lawsuit with the workers receiving a hefty settlement sum since the building was not up to fire code, violation of labor laws etc. But because this happened overseas, the injured and their families received NO monetary compensation from the factory owner or from the brands that had sourced their clothing to this factory. Walmart pleaded ignorance and differed responsibility to the supplier and basically that was that.
Addison traveled to Bangaladesh and interviewed the survivors and inquired as to what other brands they made in the factory. All of them named Walmart, Target, Gap, Zara and many more. I will be the first to say that Target is my happy place – put a Starbucks coffee in my hand and let me wander the aisles and I could spend hours in that store. Not once while I am browsing do I ever wonder where the clothing or home décor items come from. It just honestly has not ever crossed my mind. This book has changed that. This story made me very uncomfortable and has sparked a need in me to ask more questions, do more research. 4.5 gut wrenching stars. Buy it. Read it. Then do something about it; how you shop and where you choose to spend your money makes a difference.