Labor rights and sportswear production in Asia

Published: 24 May 2006

As global sports brands crank up their advertising for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, sportswear workers in Asia are struggling to earn a living. Oxfam International’s report "Offside! Labor Rights and Sportswear Production in Asia" examines how sports brands are tackling the problem of sweatshops in their industry with a particular focus on workers’ freedom to form and join trade unions.

The report features nine case studies that document how sports brands have responded to evidence of labor rights abuses in particular factories. In some cases they have responded well and addressed the problems while in others labor abuses have continued. Ultimately, a bigger challenge remains to persuade sports brands to make sure human rights are respected right across their supply chain. The report assesses how much effort sports brands have made to improve labor rights for all workers who make their products.

While global sports brands generously sponsor the world’s top sporting teams and players, the women and men in Asia who make their goods struggle to meet their families’ basic needs and many are unable to form or join unions without discrimination, dismissal or violence.