Fashion’s $16 billion debt to garment workers should spark reform, not sympathy

When coronavirus hit, powerful apparel companies “canceled” orders—a polite way of saying they refused payment to their garment suppliers for clothes they explicitly ordered months before the pandemic and that were already cut, sewn, and finished or nearly completed—worth billions. The trade data reveals that a staggering $16.2 billion went missing from the supply chain, at the very least, nearly $2 billion of which is owed for garment worker wages. The report also estimates a total of $40 billion worth of orders initially went unpaid during the crisis. “We could see the cancellations in the data, and we could see it by country,” says Mark Anner, report co-author and director of the Center for Global Workers’ Rights. “And it’s had a dramatic impact on worker’s rights.” Read more at Forbes.