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SHEFFIELD – Research into fashion supply chains has found that the coronavirus pandemic and the inadequate efforts of brands and retailers to protect their supply chains has increased workers’ vulnerability to forced labour.  

Academics at the University of Sheffield, with support from campaign organisation Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) interviewed 1,140 workers from Ethiopia, Myanmar, India and Honduras, with many underpaid, verbally abused and expected to work without adequate safety measures.

Penelope Kyritsis, director of strategic research at the WRC, said: “The response of many apparel brands at the outset of the pandemic, which included the retroactive cancellation of in-process apparel orders, pushed the economic pain of the pandemic down the supply chain, onto the backs of workers.” 

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