The following is an extract from an article published in the newspaper, Kaler Kantho, on July 10, 2021, under the title “Find my mother”:
Halima’s daughter Taslima took a job as a laborer at Hashem Foods at the age of 11, five years ago. The mother and daughter were working on two separate floors of the factory when the fire broke out. Halima said that she remembered her daughter as soon as she jumped from the second floor to save her life after the fire broke out in the factory. When she wanted to run away to factory she could not go inside as the lower gate of the factory was closed.
Among the bodies recovered from the horrific Hashem Foods factory fire are an unknown number of children who were exploited as child labour.
Children were among the severely injured, as well as those who escaped by jumping from the second floor.
See “find my mother” – the story of a child labourer in the Hashem Foods factory fire in Bangladesh
Due to the illegal employment practices that include child labour, there is no record of the number of workers in the factory at the time. It is believed that at least 1,000 of the estimated 7,000 workers employed at the factory were on duty on B shift at the time of the fire. An estimated 80% of these workers were women and girls.
The number of dead is expected to rise as firefighters are still clearing the fifth and sixth floors.
The Sajeeb Group Workers Justice Committee formed today by several food, beverage and agricultural trade unions in Bangladesh issued a statement calling for an investigation into workers’ rights violations at the Hashem Foods factory and action against the parent company, Sajeeb Group.