16. 08. 12. - 13:24
Care home kids Swarovski allegations
Austrian daily Kurier alleges that children in a care home in Tirol were used by crystal giant Swarovski to work for next to nothing from their children's home in the 1960's.
It is alleged that girls in the young person's care home were forced to carry out work by home leaders for crystal giants Swarovski at the St. Martin home in Schwaz in the Austrian Tirol.
Girls aged between 15 and 18 were allegedly forced to work for next to nothing including doing the laundry for the Austrian army as well as carrying out work for Swarovski.
Johanna P, now aged 61 and formally in the home between 1968 and 1969 said: "I was given a box with lots of little stone, tiny crystal stones. I had to lay the stones on pre designed templates.
"We worked from 7 or 8 in the morning until 5 or 6 in the evening. It was assembly line work.
Around 20-25 girls were allegedly used to carry out the works for Swarovski.
Hermine Reisinger was in Schwaz between 1968 and 1970 said: "I worked on ten cm wide metre bands. It was made out to be good work, but it hard robot like work.
She claimed it was mainly mothers and expecting mothers who were used for the Swarovski work.
"It was exploitation of these young mothers, who had had their child at 16-year-old and had been sent by their parents or carers to the institute.
Reisinger said they were only given a few penny's for their work.
Johanna P who also worked on the production line said: "I did two weeks and do not remember getting a penny for my work.I had very shaky hands and was not deemed right for the work.
The work was described as very physical, others claimed it was hard work to attach the crystals and they needed a lot of power to do it.
Waltraud R, said: "You needed to be strong to push the crystals down onto the templates. A lot of the girls had problems with their wrists. The shiny small crystals also gave the girls problems with their eyes.
"We never saw a penny for the work. I am sure Swarovski would have paid, but we never saw a penny of the money.
Swarovski as well as the state care home clam they have no records of this work
Swarovski spokesperson Bianca Henderson said to Kurier: "If Swarovski did let work be carried out there it would most certainly have been done with the belief that the payment would be given to the children.
Tirol authorities are looking into the allegations.