Unions and civil rights organisations in Hong Kong, the US, Canada, Mexico and Thailand have joined up to create an anti-sweatshop alliance to stop the continued exploitation of textile workers, the South China Morning Post reported.

The alliance, which is still to be named, said that global outsourcing, subcontracting and the increasing greed of textile and apparel companies around the world had prompted the move.

Monina Wong, of the Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee, who attended a group meeting in New York last week, said the textile and garment industry had changed because of global outsourcing.

"Developed countries, the US, European countries and Hong Kong, for example, are bleeding with textile workers losing their jobs, while we witness the reappearance of sweatshops in our own backyards," she said. "In the US, sweatshops employing Latino, Southeast Asian and Chinese immigrants have reappeared in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco."

Ms Wong said sub-contracting was another problem.

"In Hong Kong, we have witnessed mass lay-offs of middle-aged garment workers since the 1980s - the industry has moved to mainland China," she said.

She added that sweatshop conditions on the mainland were no different to those found in Thailand, Cambodia or Honduras: "Employees work for long hours and receive around 800 yuan ($97) a month, while the sweaters they make are sold for $30 (HK$234) each in the US," she said.

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