Shoe production is a growing global industry. The scale of the shoe industry is immense, with over 24 billion pairs of shoes produced last year alone, equating to 3 pairs of shoes per person, 87% of which are made in Asia. There is increasing demand from consumers in Europe and the USA, as well as in producer countries such as India and China.
Systemic human rights abuses pervade the global shoe industry, from poverty pay, long working hours and denial of trade union rights to significant risks to workers’ health and the environment through harmful chemicals and dyes. The shoe industry, very much like the garment industry, operates under a veil of secrecy.
An almost total lack of transparency allows exploitation to continue apace with the growth of the industry.