Slavery came up in conversation today, my room mate found an article which listed larger companies who are using slave/child labour for their products. You may be surprised by a few of the answers, I certainly was. As a 20 something woman, I own many garments from Forever, VS, and Urban Outfitters, however I was not aware of where these companies get their cotton, and at what cost.
Companies Who Use Slave Labour:
1) Forever 21
2) Victoria’s Secret
3) Urban Outfitters
4) Toys R Us
In Uzbekistan, the government removes large amounts of children from school and puts them in cotton fields during the harvest season. These companies listed above source cotton from Uzbekistan, while over 70 other large retail stores have at least “made commitments to address forced labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton industry.”
In 2007 Gap was accused of using child labour to make garments in India. The Observer spoke to children as young as 10 who said they were working 16 hours a day for no pay. The paper described the workplace as a “derelict industrial unit.” One 10-year-old boy told the paper he was sold to the company by his parents. A 12 year old boy, said he worked from dawn until 1 a.m. He was so tired and ill. He said if children cried, they would be hit with a rubber pipe or punished with an oily cloth stuffed in their mouths.
There was an estimated 200 children who were 11 years old & under sewing clothes for Hanes at the Harvest Rich factory in Bangladesh. The workers made as little as 6 ½ cents an hour and were forced to work 12 to 14 hours a day, seven days a week and were beaten if they fell behind their production goal.
Hopefully you found this post informative, and eye opening. It’s good to stay aware of the brands we’re supporting, and where the clothes we wear come from.