DAILY NEWS WRITER
Retailers including Walmart and Macy’s have signed a pledge to not use cotton from Uzbekistan until the country stops using forced child labor.
Retailers are going crazy for cotton — but not in a good way.
Superstores Walmart and Macy’s have joined up with such big names as Liz Claiborne, Nike, Eileen Fisher and Nautica to sign a pledge boycotting the use of cotton from Uzbekistan, WWD reported.
They are among the first companies to team up with the nonprofit group Responsible Sourcing Network to demand that the country stop using forced child labor to harvest its cotton crop.
The group’s organizers claim that two million children are forced to leave school annually and work in the fields for two months during harvest time, facing harmful chemicals and pesticides.
According to organizers, children allegedly also face physical harm or expulsion from school if they fail to meet the daily quota of picking 50 pounds of raw cotton.
Supporters say they refuse to use any more cotton from Uzbekistan until the International Labor Organization has determined that child labor is no longer an issue in the central Asian country.
The group expects to have 70 companies representing hundreds of brands on board by the time New York Fashion Week begins in September, WWD reported.
Supporters also plan to take their plea to fashion designer Gulnara Karimova, daughter of Uzbekistan’s president, Islam Karimov.
Karimova, who showed her Guli line at New York Fashion Week last fall, is expected to be back this year.