Laborers in many countries face threats every day over basic rights like sick leave, fair pay and humane working conditions, according to the International Trade Union Confederation. Across Asia and the Pacific, more than 43 million people work in garment industry. Only 4 out of the top 10 nations that have the highest number of suspected sweatshops have an hourly wage that exceeds $1 per hour. The average hourly apparel worker wage in Bangladesh is $0.13. Workers remain subjected to impoverishment, risking their safety in hazardous working conditions.
In Myanmar, over seven hundred thousand, with four in five of workforce as women, most are paid below minimum wage at $3/day. According to the UN Women, women’s share of the informal sector in the non-agricultural labor is South Asia-80%, Sub-Saharan Africa-74%, Latin America & the Caribbean-54%, making them the weakest link in global value chains. They make up 85 to 90% of sweatshop workers. They lack access to protection of labor laws and social benefits. Thus, they easily fall victim to sexual harassment.
In developing countries, an estimated 168 million children aged 5 to 17 are forced to work. The majority of child laborers are found in Asia and the Pacific. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence with one in 5 children in child labor. In the longer run, unfair working conditions lead to low life expectancy of workers stemming from high rate of suicide and bead health conditions. This continues to widen the gap between the rich and the poor.
Corporate compliance tools exist but they are inadequate. Global supply chains have made it too easy for companies to manage their hypocrisy and too difficult for outsiders to envision the reality beyond. Trust has been broken down and workers desperately need legitimate platforms that take their issues seriously. Currently factory inspections are done manually by interviewing workers who often feel pressured to lie about the working conditions. Most whistleblowing platforms are traceable leaving workers’ security in jeopardy. Hence, those who care and are willing to change the situation face massive resistance in gathering insights and collecting reports from workers.
Agncy is a digital whistle-blowing platform where workers can file reports to local and international labour organisations. We want to enable for secure, anonymous and verifiable reports in a world where smartphones with internet access are increasingly available and used by these workers. Our project aims at reducing unfair labour practices globally by reducing inequalities as per the SDG10.
Agncy aims to enable for secure, anonymous and verifiable reports in a world where smartphones with internet access are increasingly available and used by these workers. Agncy uses advanced technology to verify, process and transfer information. It uses a model where employers are held accountable by a 360 degree pressure from business partners, employees and labour organisations.
With the support of Nobel Peace Center, our digital exhibition is currently being showcased at the Nobel Peace Center. Our prototype is also available in the link: https://www.tyfexhibition.com/decent-working-conditions/decent-working-conditions-sections/