March 23, 2010
A recent Al Jazeera video report takes a look inside some of Haiti’s garment factories. The factories are a central part of reconstruction plans, however Al Jazeera reports:
[M]any Haitians see the expansion of foreign companies as a way to take advantage of the widespread poverty plaguing the country, where the unemployment rate is up to 80 per cent.
The exploitation concerns come as former US presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush prepare to visit the Caribbean nation on Monday to discuss long-term recovery efforts with Haitian officials.
And a part of their plans will be to discuss the expansion of clothing industries in the country – in which workers earn less than $4 a day – one of the lowest wages in the world.
In the video, Sebastian Walker speaks with a factory owner and workers. Yannick Etienne, a member of the worker rights organization Batay Ouvriye, tells Walker that the factories lead to, “the reproduction of poverty.” While a factory owner explains that one reason Haiti is a desirable place to open a factory is because “the salaries are lower than any other country in the caribbean.”
To see the whole video, click here.