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Primark: 'Cry for help' label was a hoax

Friday, June 27 15:24:57

Dublin-headquartered discount retailer, Primark, today said that a garment found in a UK shop with a purported "cry for help" stitched in to it was a hoax.

The statement comes after Rebecca Gallagher, from Swansea, was searching for washing machine instructions on her E12 Primark dress when she found a message saying "Forced to work exhausting hours".

She told her story to the South Wales Evening Post and this was picked up by news publishers across the globe and a second such alleged cry for help appeared on the label of another garment in another store a day later.

But Primark today said that its investigation into the labels sewn onto two garments bought separately from our Swansea store in 2013, has led it to the conclusion that it is more likely than not to have been a hoax carried out in the UK.

"The labels are clearly from the same source. It is almost impossible to imagine circumstances in which such similar labels could have been sewn onto the garments at the factory where they were made, given that they were made by different suppliers, in different factories, on different continents, one in Romania and the other in India, thousands of miles apart. However, both garments carrying the hoax labels, were bought from our Swansea store in 2013," Primark said.

"It may be no more than a coincidence that an exhibition of labels of a similar kind was held in Swansea, also in 2013. Visitors were encouraged to sew labels, using similar wording and appearance to the hoax labels, onto clothing. Primark is continuing to investigate the discovery of a note in a pair of cropped trousers in Northern Ireland, with investigations being carried out in the UK and China. We are also investigating whether there may be any link to the hoax Swansea labels," it said.

"Nobody should be in any doubt that Primark places the utmost importance on the well-being of workers in its supply chain. Primark would not sell clothes unless we are satisfied that they were made in accordance with our Code of Conduct. It is for this reason that we take all allegations of breaches of our Code extremely seriously from any sources. Indeed, we make it easy and accessible for workers in our supply chain to make contact with us confidentially, though a variety of sources, if they have any concerns. Our investigation into the labels sewn onto two garments bought separately from our Swansea store in 2013, has led us to the conclusion that it is more likely than not, to have been a hoax carried out in the UK."