UMass helped us to understand the prevalence of forced labor in Vietnam’s apparel and overseas labor recruitment industries.

University of Massachusetts, Lowell

  • Apparel
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  • Ethical Recruitment
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    This study was commissioned by the GFEMS to estimate the prevalence of forced labor in Vietnam’s apparel industry. It surveyed over 5,000 apparel workers in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, and Thai Binh in the Red River Delta, locations that are the three main apparel production regions in Vietnam. Respondents were surveyed about their work experiences to determine whether there was evidence of forced labor in the apparel industry.

    Vietnam is a major global supplier of apparel.

    For years, the apparel industry was also the largest source of export revenues to Vietnam’s economy only to be eclipsed in 2018 by electronics. The apparel industry in Vietnam also attracts large sums of foreign direct investment to shore up the production and export capacity. Because of the long hours and physically demanding nature of garment factory apparel work, concerns about forced labor have been raised by foreign governments and the international NGO community. Our recent prevalence estimate showed that, of identified forced labor victims, only 27 reached out for help. 

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    GFEMS partnered with the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, with John Jay College and Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, to conduct a study estimating the prevalence of forced labor among Vietnamese migrant workers returning from Japan and Taiwan. The findings shed light on the prevalence with which forced labor conditions may be occurring among this population of migrants, including statistics on industries at highest risk.

    About University of Massachusetts, Lowell

    The School of Criminology and Justice Studies at UMass Lowell looks to the future by focusing our research on emerging issues confronting the criminal justice system, including violence and victims, justice-involved mental health populations, police innovations, data-driven practice and national and international security.

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