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As Jordan's garment sector grows, activists push for better migrant workers' rights
Author: Alisa Reznick, Middle East Eye (UK), Published on: 15 January 2018
...Stretching across more than a square kilometre of arid desert in northern Jordan, Al Hassan is the largest of 18 special industrial zones churning out readymade garments and textiles for export. It is also home to the thousands of migrant workers behind the production... Textile and clothing exports were valued at $1.3bn in 2016, according to World Bank figures... Female migrant workers from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal still account for more than 75 percent of the garment workforce, according to ILO figures...Violations inside the zones placed Jordan on the US State Department's List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor in 2009, a designation removed in 2016. Linda al-Kalash, who heads Jordanian migrant rights group Tamkeen for Fields of Aid, said her centre continues to document similar violations... In 2016, Tamkeen spearheaded a human trafficking case against two factories in Al Hassan for reports spanning abuse on the production floor, failure to pay salaries, seizure of passports and overcrowded living quarters...[In] 2010...the labour ministry rolled out regulations on overtime pay, recruitment fees and factory working conditions. Inside dorms, health officials introduced measures spanning fire safety, room capacities and food standards. But a lack of staff within the health ministry stalled monitoring...