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289 dead at Pakistani garment factory where owners locked exits

This story is getting lost this week amid developments in the Middle East, but an enormous tragedy has befallen low-paid, unprotected garment workers producing for export.

The workers were locked inside to “protect the clothes” bound for Europe, according to a worker interviewed in this article by the New York Times. Locking the exits is a common practice in the industry: In a recent International Labor Organization survey of Haitian export export garment factories, a third kept their exits locked as well.

Expanding the garment sector is a major component of the economic plan for Haiti’s recovery. The principals have pledged to ensure better working conditions, but problems persist. More detail, of course, in the book.

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