Report examines grim Bangladesh leather trade, links to West

A nonprofit group says hazardous, heavily polluting tanneries with workers as young as 14 supplied leather to companies that make shoes and handbags for a host of Western brands.

The report was released to The Associated Press on Friday by New York-based Transparentem, which investigates supply chains. It did not say leather from the tanneries ends up in American and European companies' products, only that the manufacturers of some of those goods receive it.

Some companies say the leather used in their products was imported from outside Bangladesh, and the manufacturers concur. Still, in response to the report most brands had switched factories, banned Bangladesh leather or demanded improvements.

The abuses alleged have long plagued a blighted neighborhood in Bangladesh's capital that is the hub of its leather industry.