Dindigul: 'He forces himself on us, constantly hugging us and squeezing our breasts,' women working in a textile mill in Tamil Nadu wirte in a eight-page letter dated August 29.
'Any worker who resists his advances loses part of her salary. We need this job and don't know who to talk to about the abuse we face everyday. Please help us,' women describe the behaviour of their male supervisor.
The letter, which was sent to the social welfare officer in Dindigul in Tamil Nadu, is a plea for help from abused and exploited women, say campaigners.
'Women normally share their experiences only after quitting their jobs,' Reuters quoted S Thivyarakhini of the all-women Tamil Nadu Textile and Common Labour Union as saying.
'This is the first time, we have such raw details of ongoing exploitation. The letter has exposed the underbelly of the textile industry in the region.' She added.
According to Reuters, Dindigul social welfare officer G. Shanti said that they were in the process of putting together an enquiry committee to inspect the mill premises and look into the allegations. The mill management however said that they were unaware of the letter and had not received any official complaint.
India is one of the world’s largest textile and garment manufacturers. Many of the workers employed in this USD 40-billion-a-year industry are trapped in debt bondage, face abuse or are forced to work long hours in poor conditions, the Reuters said quoting an activist.
A report published in The Hindu in April 2015, says that a study on the health status of adolescent girls working in the textile mills under the controversial ‘Sumangali Scheme’ or ‘Thirumagal Thirumana Thittam’ has revealed that most of them working in hostile working conditions are being physically and sexually exploited.
On studying the case of 193 girls, including 44 girls still working in textile mills in western Tamil Nadu under ‘Sumangali Scheme,’ ‘Vaan Muhil’, a Palayamkottai-based NGO, believes that collective intervention by various arms of the government alone can stop the poor adolescent girls from being physically and mentally preyed upon by employers and their subordinates.