World-known brands to shame Gulnara Karimova for child labor in Uzbekistan
Business and Economics, Politics and Society, Uzbekistan5 Comments
Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Eileen Fisher, Nautica, Gear for Sports, The Jones Group, Liz Claiborne and Nike are among the first companies to sign a pledge boycotting the use of Uzbekistan-sourced cotton until the International Labor Organization determines that forced child labor is no longer an issue in the country, reports Women’s Wear Daily (WWD).
The nonprofit Responsible Sourcing Network expects to have lined up 70 companies representing hundreds of brands by New York Fashion Week in September.
To remind, in August, 2008 a coalition of the four trade associations representing the U.S. apparel and retail industries hand-delivered a letter addressed to Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov to Ambassador of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov in Washington, DC. The group urged the government of Uzbekistan to take decisive and immediate actions to end the use of forced child labor in its cotton fields.
“The group reminded President Karimov that a growing number of North American and European companies and retailer brands had already taken measures to exclude Uzbek cotton from their merchandise because of the atrocious abuse of children in the cotton fields, and that more companies would have likely followed suit if sweeping improvements were not made soon. Any action taken by companies to limit or exclude the use of Uzbek cotton would have harmful consequences for the Uzbek government and its economy.”
Eventhough many world-known brands and retailers have refused using Uzbek cotton in their products or refusing to buy products made with that cotton, there are still many left that ignore calls to stop the use of as young as 10 year old Uzbeks in cotton field.
Gymboree, children’s clothing manufacturer has recently became the latest company to take a stand against child labor in Uzbekistan by refusing to buy cotton from this Central Asian country, stating that:
“Gymboree prohibits the use of cotton sourced from Uzbekistan and textiles produced using Uzbekistan cotton because of Uzbekistan’s history of forced child labor.”
That became real after a campaign by Change.org members who brought the issue of child labor out to the costumers of Gymboree, company that refused acknowledging the fact that they were consuming cotton picked by little Uzbeks.
Supporters of the WWD mentioned pledge are considering taking their plea to daughter of President Islam Karimov Gulnara Karimova, whose one of specializations is a fashion designer and who is expected to be back this year.
Members of Change.org have proved that it’s possible to stop a flow of financial support to dictatorship regimes that use forced child labor via cotton trade.
It’s very possible that the plea the supporters plan to deliver to President’s daughter and New York Fashion Week participants’ attention could help in shaming Gulnara Karimova and her ambitions of becoming a bearer of monopoly on luxury fashion from Uzbekistan. Fashion that is based on sweat and deaths of little Uzbek citizens.