Tim Newman, Campaigns Director, International Labor Rights Forum
Earlier this month, many ILRF supporters took action to tell Abercrombie & Fitch and Gymboree to join the many other clothing companies that have spoken out against forced child labor in Uzbekistan's cotton industry. While Abercrombie announced that it had a policy not to source cotton from Uzbekistan based on the human rights abuses in that country's cotton industry, the children's clothing store Gymboree has remained silent on forced child labor. Since the initial action, many concerned consumers have called Gymboree to share their concerns and have used Facebook and Twitter as ways to communicate with Gymboree.
Even as Gymboree continues to publicly ignore the situation, children in Uzbekistan are being removed from schools across the country and forced to pick cotton during the current harvest season. The photographs below were posted on Gymboree's Facebook wall as a reminder of the egregious abuse of children that they refuse to speak out about. However, shortly after the photographs have been posted, Gymboree has removed the photographs. Keep reading to see the pictures that Gymboree doesn't want you to see.
All of these photographs were taken in October 2010 in Uzbekistan. For more recent updates and articles about forced child labor in the current harvest season, check out the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights. And remember that adults are also forced to pick cotton as well -- check out this recent article on that subject.
How long will Gymboree ignore the suffering of millions of Uzbek children and institute a policy to stop sourcing Uzbek cotton until the government ends forced child labor?