Hanging by a Thread

Every morning, 24-year-old Shahida Begum leaves her home in one of Dhaka's slums, winds her way into a posh diplomatic enclave and turns up for work at a garment factory overlooking the U.S. embassy. She may not be making this commute much longer. Like most of Bangladesh's 1.8 million textile workers, she has heard rumors that the American and European companies that currently buy clothes from her country will switch to Chinese manufacturers next year—leading to closures of garment factories in Dhaka. The zero-sum math of globalization makes little sense to one of its victims. "I know that everything in Dhaka's...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!