Calls for end to workplace harassment in Bangladesh

Hundreds of protesters, mostly female garment workers, gathered in Dhaka on Saturday to call for a new labour law that would protect women from sexual harassment and abuse at factories.

They're also demanding a more worker-friendly workplace

Bangladesh, which ranks behind only China as a supplier of clothes to Western countries, relies on the garment industry for more than 80 percent of its exports, and about 4 million jobs.

While factory safety had improved since the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster, Bangladesh was backsliding on workers' rights, according to a report in March for an influential U.S. Senate committee.

The study for the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations found that union leaders faced threats and intimidation, hampering their ability to investigate claims of abuse, most of which were from women workers.

Women make up the majority of the workforce in Bangladesh's garment industry.

Bangladesh has seen a surge of sexual crimes in recent years, triggering the country's cabinet to approve the death penalty for rapists on Monday (October 12).

It comes amid nationwide protests after a series of gang rapes and sexual assaults.

Video Transcript

- Hundreds of protesters, mostly female garment workers, gathered in Dhaka on Saturday to call for a new labor law that would protect women from sexual harassment and abuse at factories. They're also demanding a more worker-friendly workplace.

Bangladesh, which ranks behind only China as a supplier of clothes to Western countries, relies on the garment industry for more than 80% of its exports and about 4 million jobs. While factory safety had improved since the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster, Bangladesh was backsliding on workers rights, according to a report in March for an influential US Senate committee. The study for the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations found that union leaders faced threats and intimidation, hampering their ability to investigate claims of abuse, most of which were from women workers.

Women make up the majority of the workforce in Bangladesh's garment industry. Bangladesh has seen a surge of sexual crimes in recent years, triggering the country's cabinet to approve the death penalty for rapists on Monday. It comes amid nationwide protests after a series of gang rapes and sexual assaults.