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Bangladesh factory fire survivor in Seattle to push for safe labor

Sumi Abedin was making 18 cents an hour as a seamstress, putting together garments for Sean “P Diddy” Combs’ clothing line (known as Sean John Clothing) when the factory she worked in located outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, began burning.

“The door was locked and we couldn’t get out,” Abedin said, speaking through translator and Bangladeshi labor activist Kalpona Akter. She ended up having to leap from a three-story window, breaking an arm and a leg – and feeling lucky to have survived. More than a hundred did not.

Today, at least 70 garment Bangladeshi workers were reported killed with the collapse of a factory.

Abedin and Akter are in Seattle today as part of a U.S. tour—the End Death Trap Tour, they call it—aimed at urging American corporations and clothing purchasers like Walmart and Gap to support safe, fair working conditions overseas.

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The host of the Humanosphere community is Tom Paulson, who spent 22 years reporting on science and medicine at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Tom was one of the first daily news reporters to cover the topic of “global health” (a much-debated label which he discusses the merits of on the Humanosphere website).