Following the collapse of a Dhaka building, housing eight textile factories in Bangladesh, the world was given a horrifying reminder of the working conditions faced by labourers who feed our hunger for high-street fashion.
With the death toll reaching 900, the disaster is the worst-ever industrial accident in Bangladesh. Photos from the scene have revealed the devastation of the site, the tireless efforts of the rescue workers and the anguish of the victims' family and friends.
A photo by activist and photographer Taslima Akhter has gained international attention for polarising the heart-breaking tragedy of the building collapse. Akhter's image shows two deceased victims discovered in the rubble, clutching each other in a final embrace, seemingly to protect or comfort each other.
In 2010, Akhter won third prize for her documentary photography in The Julia Margaret Cameron Award for her work on ‘The Life and Struggle of Garment Workers’, which was also selected at the Angkor Photo Festival 2010 in Cambodia and exhibited in Bangladesh during the garment workers’ movement’s strike actions for increasing their minimum wage.
Akhter gave HuffPost UK this heartfelt appeal:
"I want to inform the world about the cruelty our workers are subjected to and the working conditions of the cheapest labour in our country.
"In the past, business owners and the government have said that activists and workers are trying to conspire against industrialisation, which is the same old story used to argue against workers' rights.
"But as an activist and photographer, I know that trade union activists and workers want the development of industrialisation - we believe that without improving the condition of workers with proper wages and safety, industrialisation is not possible.
"And it’s not only an issue local to us, it’s also an international issue. Buyers buy products from our country at a very cheap rate and our labour has become the cheapest labour in the world. International buyers are not concerned about the rate of payment for workers, or their safety.
"Through my photography I have been trying to campaign against the low wage of workers and their insecure working conditions for the last five years. I don't want my photography to be used as any propaganda for destroying our working industry, but instead to improve it. I hope readers of The Huffington Post UK will agree with me." - Taslima Akhter