Boohoo is investigating ‘modern slavery’ in supplier’s factory

Employees are reportedly being paid as little as £3.50 to work in unsafe conditions in Leicester premises

After a surge of coronavirus cases in Leicester was linked to the cramped factories supplying garments to Boohoo and its sister brands Nasty Gal and Pretty Little Thing, it has been revealed that Boohoo is investigating claims of ‘modern slavery’ in one of the city’s manufacturers.

According to a grim report by The Sunday Times, which saw a reporter go undercover at a factory bearing the sign Jaswal Fashions, workers were found to be earning as little as £3.50 an hour, with no access to hand sanitiser or the ability to social distance while working. Allegedly making clothes for Nasty Gal, the factory was also operating at full capacity despite Leicester going into a localised lockdown last week, as the government aims to contain and slow the spread of COVID-19 in the region.

However, Boohoo claims Jaswal Fashions was not one of its suppliers and it appeared a different firm is using Jaswal’s former premises. “We are taking immediate action to thoroughly investigate how our garments were in their hands, will ensure that our suppliers immediately cease working with this company, and we will urgently review our relationship with any suppliers who have sub-contracted work to the manufacturer in question,” Boohoo wrote in a statement. 

The news comes after home secretary Pritti Patel directed the National Crime Agency to investigate the ongoing concerns surrounding modern slavery in Leicester. She described the conditions in the factories as ‘truly appalling’ and said the government would not tolerate “sick criminals forcing innocent people into slave labour and a life of exploitation.” The NCA reporting it had visited a number of businesses in Leicester in recent days to assess evidence of modern slavery and human trafficking. 

Dazed has reached out to Boohoo for further comment.