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Beyond Threads: Tamkeen's orientation video for garment workers in Jordan

On April 18, 2014

Jordanian human rights NGO Tamkeen Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights has produced a new informational film for Asian migrant workers travelling to the country to work in the garments sector.

Ashad, a Pakistani-born trade unionist based in Jordan explains to prospective workers in the film that under Jordanian law they are required to work for no more than 8 hours a day, are entitled to 28 days holiday a year, and paid sick leave.

Meanwhile, workers interviewed at the beginning of the film talk about the challenges of life working in the garments industry. Many are shouldering heavy debts as a result of fees payed to labour brokers in their home countries, while others are fearful as a result of workplace bullying and withheld wages. Separation from family members left at home, especially young children, weighs heavy on the minds of many women in the film.

Jordan has a thriving garment trade which takes place largely in Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ). Products from these special economic zones, which were established in 1997, can be exported to the US duty-free as long as they contain a certain percentage of inputs from Israel. QIZ's were initially created with a view to providing jobs for Jordanians, but today around 70% of employees in the garments factories in these zones are South Asian women.

Labour standards at these zones have been called into question by both local and international human rights groups in recent years. Last year, 100 Nepali women requested repatriation after facing abusive and exploitative conditions at the Dulay Industrial Park, located in one of the country's QIZ's.

Tamkeen is an award-winning NGO based in Amman which has a special focus on guest workers and human trafficking.