Blog: July 2011

Carter's Victory! Will Aeropostale, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and Toys R Us Stop Forced Child Labor in Cotton?

The struggle is far from over! While many clothing retailers -- like Gap, Children’s Place, and Gymboree -- are working to address labor abuses in their cotton, some companies continue to remain silent about forced child labor in Uzbekistan's cotton fields. ILRF has started new petitions focused on a few holdouts who still have not taken action against Uzbek cotton. 

Here are links to our new petitions:

And You Thought Tobacco Only Harmed the Smoker

The International Labor Rights Forum continues to passionately address the forced labor that occurs on tobacco farms with extensive research and ILRF’s Tobacco Campaign. ILRF was excited to support WOJA and Otañez in their efforts to address the hazardous industry of tobacco that is riddled with child laborers and the labor of pregnant women. A shocking 78% of children between the ages of 10 to 14 and 55% of 7 to 9 year olds work full or part-time with their parents on tobacco farms internationally.  

Sting Hypocritical on Human and Labor Rights in Central Asia

Sting said this about playing in Tashkent:

I am well aware of the Uzbek president’s appalling reputation in the field of human rights as well as the environment. I made the decision to play there in spite of that have come to believe that cultural boycotts are not only pointless gestures, they are counter-productive.

This stands in stark contrast to Sting’s refusal to cross Kazakhstan’s “virtual picket lines.” Much like the concert in Kazakhstan, which was part of the president’s birthday celebrations, Sting’s appearance in Tashkent was solely for the enjoyment of Uzbekistan’s elite. The cheapest tickets cost $1000. That’s 45 times more than the average Uzbek’s monthly salary. 

Seeking To End Culture of Impunity, United Church of Christ Philippines Brings Suit Against Former President Arroyo

Amid growing concern for the human rights situation the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston visited the Philippines in 2007. He found that in the name counter-insurgency operations against the armed-wing of the Communist Party, the New People’s Army, government killings had “eliminated civil society leaders, including human rights defenders, trade unionists and land reform advocates...”  

The ABC’s of Cotton Picking

The conditions in which the children work are appalling, and sometimes lead to injury and death. A report released by the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) found that both children and parents stated that all tenth and eleventh graders that worked in the fields were forced to stay in barracks. One child called the conditions in the barracks “unbearable.” The report stated that the barracks were, “Unheated, uninsulated field barracks, normally used to store crops and/or farm machinery…filthy and flea-infested, while the biting insects prevented [the children inside] from sleeping. Children were fed mostly bread and turnips.”

The Sweet Delicious Taste of, Child Labor?

How can so many children loose their childhoods to the cocoa bean? Most of the trafficked children come from Mali. Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world with 54% of Mali’s people living below $1.25 a day, and 77% below $2 a day.  Therefore people travel to Cote d'Ivoire to find jobs. Of the thousands of children who have experienced trafficking and/or forced labor, the majority are from Mali. Parents often send their children from their rural homes (where there is a lack of resources and jobs) to Cote d'Ivoire to work in whatever conditions to support their families.

Tell Carter's to Stop Forced Child Labor in Cotton

The government makes about a billion dollars in profit by exporting cotton; most of that money goes directly to the pockets of Uzbekistan’s president, Islam Karimov and his close allies. The children, on the other hand, are lucky to make any money at all from their labor. They are only paid about a dollar a day and their wages are often stolen by corrupt officials.

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