Exposure investigation uncovers violence and abuse in Dhaka sweatshop

Laura Kuenssberg

Former Business Editor

The Rana Plaza disaster in April last year. Credit: REUTERS

The appalling loss of life at Rana Plaza last April exposed the dangers of Bangladesh's vast garment trade to the world when more than a thousand people were killed when a factory building collapsed.

But until now, the pressures, abuse and shockingly, the violence that also takes place behind the closed doors of Dhaka's sweatshops has remained a secret. For the first time tonight, An undercover ITV investigation reveals a factory with links to a major UK brand where verbal and physical abuse place takes place, child workers are reduced to tears, being slapped and kicked for not working quickly enough, and another factory with fire exits that are kept locked and vital health and safety checks being manipulated.

There have been significant attempts to clean the industry up, that provides so many of the garments that we buy on our high streets. But the footage gathered by our two Bangladeshi investigators who risked their own safety, shows that dangers are often ignored and workers,including children, are sometimes treated with an appalling lack of respect.

Western brands import garments from Bangladesh for one very clear reason - the wages are among the lowest in the world. In a developing country the garment trade provides vital employment for millions of workers. But low pay should not and does not have to be accompanied by violence and danger. The legacy of the Rana Plaza disaster was meant to include an effort right across Bangladesh's garment trade to improve conditions and stamp out the dangers. Our investigation reveals quite clearly, not everyone has been willing to change.

Watch Laura Kuenssberg's report on the appalling violence suffered by children on the production line:

Watch Exposure: Fashion Factories Undercover ITV 10.35pm