Inspiration

Worldwide, workers in the garment industry suffer from horrendous working conditions and violations of their fundamental labor rights. Often, they are intimidated by their supervisors and afraid to raise their voice as they urgently need their jobs to survive.

What it does

Users are presented with a simple survey asking them about the most common labor law violations such as overtime, pay and holidays. Based on this survey, potential violations of the law are identified to raise awareness that working conditions may not be legally compliant. After the anonymous survey, the user has the possibility to directly contact someone how can take actions to ease or resolve the issues. In our special use-case, the garment industry in Serbia is taken for example, and workers are enabled to contact employees of the "Clean Clothes Campaign" anonymously. If the worker is afraid to reveal his/her identity, an anonymous report can be filed which results in an anonymous chat with one of the CCC employees.

In order to give workers a sense of community and enable NGOs to identify problematic hot spots in their country, similar cases are summarized and clustered by region. This is then visualized, e.g. to show the seamstress that several hundred other seamstresses in her region suffer from the same problems as herself and on the other hand to report to the CCC in which region, for example, the minimum wage is often violated.

Although our prototype-presentation is tailored to the Serbian use case, the application itself is sufficiently generalized to survey and collect information about work conditions around the world and to allow workers to quickly and easily check whether they may be affected by violations of the law.

How we built it

Vue.js Webapp with Flask backend connected to postgres. Security is ensured through anonymous Ids and brute-force prevention.

Challenges we ran into

  • Every use-case has its own special requirements and it is important to respect use-case specific needs of the users.
  • Anonymity is an important factor, as in most cases workers are dismissed immediately if they openly report to their employer.
  • Also, how can the user build a trust relationship with the application and the organizations behind it?

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Fully completion of a prototype in under 20 hours.

What we learned

Sometimes more simple solutions can have a great impact!

What's next for KnowYourRights

Enable workers to anonymously coordinate mutual actions to prevent future right violations. Our ideas for this step (again using the Serbian example):

  • There already are some small labor unions which also are connected with CCC. Those unions could be provided by CCC with login-token for our platform, which can than be distributed among the worker, to allow them an anonymous exchange platform while excluding unwanted accounts of e.g. factory owners.
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