Tag Archive for: 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.

He found some families hadn’t seen their children in two years.

They’d been approached by traffickers who promised their children well-paid and comfortable jobs in Ho Chi Minh City.

After receiving almost no money and no contact, the families were desperate. Investigations by Blue Dragon, experienced in saving children from garment factories, and Vietnamese officials located the children.

Michael Brosowski, the Australian founder of the charity, said local authorities were extremely interested in combating child trafficking.

Legislation in Vietnam, however, needs to catch up.

Vietnam is rated as a Tier 2 Watch List nation in a worldwide report on human trafficking released by the US State Department this year.

Most human trafficking recognised by the government and NGOs related to cross-border trafficking, often for sex work.

Internal trafficking, usually for labour, is harder to define and rarely prosecuted. According to the US report, no one was prosecuted for trafficking persons in Vietnam last year.

“It’s not sexy enough (as an issue) compared to sex trafficking,” said Brosowski.

“But labour trafficking can be hideous as well. These children lose years of their lives,” he said.

According to the State Department report, Vietnam’s legal structure is ill-suited to support the identification and prosecution of trafficking cases.

As internal trafficking can be hard to prove, some cases are prosecuted under labour laws instead.
Authorities have not yet said how they plan to prosecute this case.


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. “A ‘cut and run’ response is completely unacceptable, as is a ‘hide our guilt’ response. We expect companies to ensure there is no child labor throughout their supply chain.”

Gap Inc. recognizes this is not an isolated incident, nor is it a Gap-specific problem. Gap is currently working locally in Delhi to respond to the abuses, while also appropriately working with the GMACL and ITGLWF on the broader issues related to protecting children and developing a mature system of industrial relations between independent unions and employers.

Another key component rests in the hands of the government of India, which can and should be enforcing its laws on child labor and bonded labor and aggressively prosecuting employers found in violation of the laws. Through ensuring adequate resources and training for factory inspections, the government of India will send a clear message to the world that it takes protecting children from worst forms of child labor, including bonded child labor, as a priority.

“Other retailers must join Gap in acknowledging there is a problem in the supply chain in India. We do not support corporations jumping ship and moving these jobs to some other country with similar or parallel problems. That’s no solution,” said Darlene Adkins, CLC Coordinator. “Consumers are watching for a good-faith, credible response to ensure decent work for adults and no child labor. Any textile company that tries to cover-up, instead of an honest effort to clean up their abusive use of child labor, will pay a high price with consumers.”

About the Child Labor Coalition

The Child Labor Coalition is a group of more than 30 organizations, representing consumers, labor unions, educators, human rights and labor rights groups, child advocacy groups, and religious and women’s groups.  It was established in 1989, and is co-chaired by the National Consumers League and the American Federation of Teachers.  Its mission is to protect working youth and to promote legislation, programs, and initiatives to end child labor exploitation in the United States and abroad.