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Bangladesh Factory Accidents Continue To Haunt Survivors, Families

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Retailers, labor unions and government organizations started talks in Geneva last week to discuss compensation for the victims of two recent factory accidents in Bangladesh. Nearly 1,200 people were killed between the two tragedies, each brought on by unsafe working conditions.

According to the Associated Press, the talks focused on a blaze at the Tazreen factory in November 2012 that killed 112 workers, and the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory that killed more than 1,000 people.

"More than 112 people were killed in gruesome ways in the [Tazreen] factory fire, and many thought that after years of downplaying that this would seize the world's attention and bring about some systemic reforms to improve factory safety for workers," said Jason Mothlagh, who reported from Dakha for the Pulitzer Center.

But reforms never materialized.

"There was little surprise when Rana Plaza happened," Motlagh said. "Sadly, it was something of this scale that had to occur to finally hold people's attention and lead to some kind of lasting change."

Mothlag's reporting revealed five months after the Rana Plaza tragedy, the suffering for accident survivors and victims' families showed no signs of subsiding. Relatives of the 1,131 victims have received only part of their promised compensation, and survivors lack financial and psychological assistance.

Last week's conference proved significant, according to Mothlag, simply because it occurred. But not all parties involved in the accidents showed willingness to move forward.

"Unfortunately, only a handful of companies that were connected to these tragedies actually showed up for the event in Geneva."

Watch the interview with Jason Motlagh in the video above and read more of his work on The Pulitzer Center website.

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