India is the world’s biggest textile market, with around 2.5 billion garments produced annually, according to the World Trade Organization.
But while India’s apparel industry has seen huge growth, there has been a steady stream of counterfeits being smuggled into the country.
The country has been caught off guard by a wave of counterfeit goods that have started popping up in the country’s textile industry, where many workers have been exploited by garment mills and factories.
The Bangladesh textile industry is one of the world\’s most significant producers of clothing and has been an area of growing concern for many years, due to its high cost and low quality.
The factories are used for sewing, fabric and accessories, making them one of Bangladesh\’s top industries, said Bishwajit Sharma, professor at the Institute of International Studies, University of Dhaka.
In April, more than 1,200 Bangladesh garment workers were sacked for working long hours in unsafe conditions, after an investigation revealed that they had been illegally working in the industry.
More than 20 percent of garment workers in Bangladesh earn less than R10 (£1.10) an hour, while workers in other sectors earn more than R2,000 (£3.50) an day, according the UN World Food Programme (WFP).
But the workers say the government has been slow to tackle the problem, and have been working at the mercy of the factories, who have taken bribes to let them work at reduced hours.
“The authorities should not only be accountable for these violations but should also look into the reasons behind them, especially since we have a large number of cases of workers who have been taken out of work, and their families have been affected,” said Ashok Sharma, an activist with the Union of Importers of Bangladesh (UIB).
The government has tried to clamp down on the factories by cracking down on labour disputes and setting up a hotline to report cases of abuse.
However, Sharma said the government is not doing enough to stop the trade in counterfeit clothing.
“We need to go to the source of the problem.
We need to stop these factories from manufacturing these counterfeit products,” he said.
He added that the trade could also lead to corruption and violence, since many garment workers are paid a fixed wage that cannot be cut.
“Our society has been suffering from this for the past 20 years, because we have been paying bribes to these corrupt textile mills,” he added.
In recent months, Bangladesh has also been cracking down hard on the illegal trading of counterfeit clothing, with an agreement with US company Zara in January that would force garment retailers to pay a 1 percent import duty on all garments made in the Bangladesh.
A similar agreement has also gone into effect in other countries, such as China and Indonesia.
Sharma said that the new agreement should be applied to all other countries as well.
“There are many other countries who are also exporting counterfeit goods.
We should also have such a pact in place for other countries,” he told Al Jazeera.
He said the law should also take into account the fact that many garment manufacturers are not only making garments for domestic consumption, but also for overseas markets.
“These countries are not paying taxes to India and Bangladesh, so they can earn profits overseas,” Sharma said.
Bangladesh is one the most affected countries in the world for counterfeiting, which has a huge impact on its economy.
“India is the biggest market for the import of counterfeit apparel, and there are more than 3,500 factories operating in India that produce counterfeit garments, according a report from the UN Commission on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (CTRIPR).”
A study done by the Indian government in 2014 estimated that more than 90 percent of the garment-making and manufacturing facilities that are not controlled by government entities were in violation of laws, regulations and trade practices.
“The country\’s garment industry has been the target of an organised crime syndicate in the past, but the government and the government-run police have done little to tackle it.
The police have made no arrests in the case, and the investigation is still ongoing.”
If the police fail to arrest any person or company responsible for the trade, then we may resort to legal action against them,” Sharma added.