Auret van Heerden: Making global labor fair

“I was sitting in a slum outside Gurgaon just next to Delhi, one of the flashiest, brightest new cities popping up in India right now, and I was talking to workers who worked in garment sweatshops down the road, and I asked them what message they would like me to take to the brands. They didn’t say money. They said, “The people who employ us treat us like we are less than human, like we don’t exist. Please ask them to treat us like human beings.” That’s my simple understanding of human rights. That’s my simple proposition to you, my simple plea to every decision-maker in this room, everybody out there. We can all make a decision to come together and pick up the balls and run with the balls that governments have dropped. If we don’t do it, we’re abandoning hope, we’re abandoning our essential humanity, and I know that’s not a place we want to be, and we don’t have to be there. So I appeal to you. Join us, come into that safe space, and let’s start to make this happen.”

– Auret van Heerden