Tim Newman, Campaigns Director, International Labor Rights Forum
We've written a lot on this blog about the widespread use of forced child labor in the cotton industry in Uzbekistan. Every year, the government of Uzbekistan removes thousands of children and teachers from school and forces them to pick cotton to enrich the ruling regime. The cotton then ends up in the clothes we buy here in the US and around the world.
So far, the global campaign efforts have led the government of Uzbekistan to sign the two International Labor Organization Conventions related to child labor, but as a new report released by ILRF earlier this month showed the practice continued throughout this most recent fall harvest season. Many major global corporations have committed top stop sourcing Uzbek cotton (which is the demand of Uzbek human rights activists). BUT companies like Abercrombie & Fitch, Fred's and Gymboree have not taken any action to stop forced child labor in the cotton industry. You can send them a quick message to stop this exploitation here.
Here are some easy ways to take action and make a difference!
- Send the e-mail to Abercrombie & Fitch, Fred's and Gymboree;
- If you use twitter, tweet this (and ask your friends to re-tweet!): #abercrombie #freds #gymboree Stop using forced child labor! http://www.unionvoice.org/
- If you are on Facebook, become a "fan" of Abercrombie and Fitch here and Gymboree here and post a comment like this: Abercrombie and Fitch: When will you STOP using forced child labor in your cotton? http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/Uzbek
Most importantly, if we are going to continue to strengthen our campaign to stop the egregious abuses in Uzbekistan's cotton industry, we need your continued support. Consider contributing to our campaign here. Your contributions will help us to continue to expose ongoing abuses and to bring more companies to the table.
Your actions supporting this campaign definitely make a real impact! Last month, ILRF mentioned in a report that L L Bean had not yet committed to stop sourcing Uzbek cotton. After the report was release and the company heard from concerned customers, they immediately called ILRF and agreed to work with the many companies that are engaged in ending forced child labor in Uzbekistan's cotton industry. Read more about L L Bean's actions here.
Your actions are working -- let's keep it up!
Finally, for more information about the campaign, check out this video from a protest ILRF helped organize in front of the Uzbek embassy in DC in October: