Tim Newman, Campaigns Assistant, International Labor Rights Forum
The controversy around widespread child labor on cotton farms in Uzbekistan continues to grow (an issue we have blogged about before). Last weekend, Swedish Television (SVT) aired a new program investigating child labor in Uzbekistan which linked H&M and Marimekko to an Estonian textile factory, Krenholm, which processes cotton from Uzbekistan. Following the report, Marimekko announced that it would stop buying cotton products from Krenholm.
Most recently, Krenholm has claimed to have stopped buying cotton from Uzbekistan in response to the recent exposure. Reports say that Krenholm has asked all of its international suppliers to provide the company with a certificate guaranteeing that no child labor was used in the production of their cotton. Martti Haarajoki, CEO of Krenholm, said, "This problem applies to the entire cotton industry. In addition to Uzbekistan, child labour may be used in a number of other countries."
Especially as the holiday gift buying season kicks into high gear, it is important for consumers to be aware of the labor conditions under which their products are made. This latest controversy highlights the ongoing use of child labor and it is important for people to take action to remind corporations that we will not support abuses like this.
Keep reading to see a video report from the BBC on cotton in Uzbekistan!