Fashion firms scrapped $16 billion in orders amid pandemic

American and European fashion brands scrapped billions of dollars in apparel orders amid the coronavirus pandemic, stiffing garment workers out of more than $1 billion in the process, labor watchdogs say.

The value of apparel imports to the US and the European Union plummeted by $16.2 billion from April through June as Western retailers canceled or refused to pay for orders they placed before the COVID crisis began, according to researchers at the Center for Global Workers’ Rights and the Worker Rights Consortium.

Ten percent of that would have gone to pay workers who make the clothes in developing countries such as Vietnam, Bangladesh and Honduras — meaning they likely lost out on about $1.6 billion in wages as the pandemic ravaged the global economy, the watchdogs say.

“This loss in value translates into suppliers dramatically reducing operations, suspending operations, or even going out of business,” the researchers wrote in

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