When I heard about the factory that collapsed in Bangladesh killing over 800 people, I knew.
I knew what the place looked like before the walls caved and the roof fell. I knew the hopeless look in the workers' eyes moments before panic set in.
I'd seen it before, when I worked as a buyer for one of Britain's largest clothing retailers and traveled the world oblivious to the working conditions in the factories we employed. Then management sent me to India to negotiate larger margins and faster production schedules.
After negotiating a contract in a fancy conference room, I told the factory manager I wanted to see the factory. "No ma'am, not possible!" he said. "No visit, no contract!" I said.
I was led teetering down an unpaved alley through Bombay slums in my stilettos and pencil skirt, past tumbledown shacks. The factory was built on a fragile scaffold seven feet off the ground, with more makeshift residences hunkered underneath. It was constructed of patch-worked sheet metal and swayed as we mounted the rickety ladder to a door. We entered what felt like an oven.