Fire sprinklers like this one may have mitigated the devastation caused by the 2012 Dhaka Fire, in which more than 100 factory workers were killed.
Photograph by Brandon Leon, courtesy Wikimedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

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  • On November 24, 2012, a fire started at a clothing factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Workers, unable to escape the building due to blocked exits and unsafe staircases, were trapped. More than 100 people died. The fire, seemingly caused by an electrical short circuit, was one of the worst factory fires in history. 
     
    The Dhaka fire is often associated with the concept of “sweatshops.” Sweatshops are factories, usually affiliated with the garment industry, with low-wage labor and unsafe working conditions. Many so-called sweatshops are located in the developing world and produce clothing for developed nations. The factory in Bangladesh produced garments sold in Walmart, Teddy Smith (a French retailer) and EWM (a Scottish retailer).
     
    After the fire, multinational corporations and the Bangladeshi government forced some reforms in the garment industry. Walmart ended all work with the company that operated the factory. Nonprofit organizations lobbied to stop consumers from purchasing goods manufactured in factories that do not meet safety standards. In Bangladesh, the owner of the factory was placed under arrest. 
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    arrest Verb

    to take into legal custody.

    associate Verb

    to connect.

    company Noun

    business venture.

    consumer Noun

    person who uses a good or service.

    developing world Noun

    nations with low per-capita income, little infrastructure, and a small middle class.

    factory Noun

    one or more buildings used for the manufacture of a product.

    garment Noun

    article of clothing.

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    labor Noun

    work or employment.

    manufacture Verb

    to make or produce a good, usually for sale.

    multinational corporation Noun

    business that manages the production of goods or delivers services in several countries.

    nonprofit organization Noun

    business that uses surplus funds to pursue its goals, not to make money.

    operate Verb

    to control or manage.

    reform noun, verb

    change or improvement of a policy or process.

    retailer Noun

    person or business that sells products directly to consumers.

    short circuit Noun

    faulty connection between two points in an electric circuit.

    sweatshop Noun factory that employs workers at low wages, for long hours, and under poor conditions.
    wage Noun

    money or goods traded for work or service performed.