Cheap clothing comes at a cost: some of the clothes we wear are manufactured by children who suffer difficult working conditions. Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Lesotho, Morocco, the Philippines, Portugal and Thailand are among the countries in which children are believed to help produce garments.

Child slavery bust in Vietnam


[from AFP, September 30, 2011 4:52PM]

TWENTY three children and young adults rescued from slave labour in a garment factory by Vietnamese authorities with the help of an Australian-run children’s charity have arrived in Hanoi.

Vietnamese government officials and police from the victims’ home region, with help from the charity Blue Dragon, raided the factory in Ho Chi Minh City. The owners have been arrested and are awaiting trial.

The victims, aged from ten to 21, are from the Kho Mu ethnic group, in Dien Bien province in Vietnam’s far northwest. Some of them had been working for up to two years as slave labour in the garment business.

Tired but happy, the children relaxed for an hour at Noi Bai airport before boarding a bus for the 12-hour journey home to their villages.

The group are told AAP they were looking forward to returning to their families.

“I felt so homesick, living in Saigon,” said 12-year-old Trang.
He was taken by car from his small village of 35 households and brought to Saigon, where he worked cutting cloth and was regularly beaten, he said.

He couldn’t estimate how many hours he worked as he can’t read a clock.

Gazing fixedly at his can of Fanta, he said he wanted to get home to his parents and six younger brothers and family farm.

Ta Ngoc Van, a lawyer with Blue Dragon, travelled to the remote villages of Da Lech and Co Nghiu some weeks ago following up a tip from a contact in the Ministry of Public Security about rumours of missing children.… Read the rest

Silk’s dark side: Uzbek kids made to grow cocoons

By MANSUR MIROVALEV (AP) – August 30, 2010

KOKAND, Uzbekistan — For one month a year, from morning to night, Dilorom Nishanova grows silkworms, a painstaking and exhausting job. She has been doing it since she was 8.

Uzbekistan’s authoritarian government insists that it has banned child labor but Nishanova, now 15, hasn’t heard about it. She and her siblings, aged 9 to 17, think it’s perfectly natural to be helping their father grow silkworms, as well as cotton and wheat.

“We just help our parents,” she said, her braided dark hair covered with a traditional Muslim scarf. “That’s what children have to do, right?”

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Child Labor Horrors in Fashion Industry: “Hide the Shame” is the New Strategy (2007 Press Release)

Washington, DC, November 8, 2007 — With news last Friday that an additional 76 child slaves were rescued from Delhi’s embroidery dens, the Child Labor Coalition (CLC) has called for immediate and responsible action by brands and retailers to end child labor and trafficking of children, as well as forced labor, in their supply chain and sourcing. The Global March Against Child Labor (GMACL), for which the CLC serves as its North American coordinator, estimates that as many as 5,000-7,000 embroidery units may be operating in Delhi, with each unit employing between 25 and 30 children. Many of these children are victims of trafficking and bonded labor, a form of slavery.

Gap Inc. acknowledged on October 29, that one of its suppliers was using child slave labor. Children as young as 10 said they worked 16 hours a day for no pay, according to the British Observer newspaper’s investigation. The retailer issued a public statement and destroyed the products, which would have otherwise ended up on shelves at GapKids.

While Gap owned up to the problem, committed to correct it, and vowed to bring its suppliers into full compliance with its standards, the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation (ITGLWF) reports that a cover-up is being attempted by some other companies doing business in India. In essence, ITGLWF is hearing from some suppliers that they are being pressured to eliminate any paper trail between retailers/brands and Indian subcontractors, who may or may not be using child labor.

“If this is occurring, and we obtain brand or retailer names, consumers will hear about it,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League and Co-Chair of the CLC.

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