The police have arrested the director of a Chinese-owned clothing firm as part of an investigating into exploitation of workers and human trafficking.

The man, who is Chinese, was arrested yesterday and it is understood that the police raided Leisure Clothing in Bulebel to assess conditions.

The factory employs just under 300 Chinese nationals who were allegedly attracted to Malta with a promise of high wages. 

It was the first Chinese industrial  investment in Malta when it opened 23 years ago  and over the years boasted a glamorous portfolio of clients including Jaeger, Karen Millen, Aquascutum, Ted Baker, Austin Reed, Whistles, Hobbs, Coast, Daks, Giorgio Armani and Hugo Boss.

The company is a subsidiary of the China Chongqing International Corporation for Economic and Technical Cooperation.

REPORTS FIRST SURFACED IN 2007

The Ministry for Public Dialogue and Consumer Affairs said this case goes back to 2007 when investigations by the Employment and Industrial Relations Department did not show any irregularities. 

Over the (past) year, the department investigated related reports of exploitation of workers and instituted two court cases against the company.  This happened months ago, before the latest reports surfaced on the media (Il-Mument broke the story on Sunday). 

The department is now conducting another investigation about employment conditions including the allegations reported in the media.

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20100808/business/bulebel-textile-manufacturer-wins-giorgio-armani-contract.321382

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