30 October 2007

Kidswear ... Made By Kids

Forced child labour in Uzbekistan's cotton fieldsNewsnight has just shown an excellent report by Simon Ostrovsky documenting the forced child labour that is involved in Uzbekistan's annual harvest of its "white gold" — the cotton that is then exported to Asia and ends up in the clothes that we buy from shops such as Matalan, Burton and Asda.

If you missed the programme, do watch it online to understand how what you buy and wear may be sourced by what amounts to modern slavery, with an estimated 450,000 pupils taken out of school for more than two months each year to harvest the crop by hand.


Anonymous said...

Harvesting of crops - It used to be accepted in country districts that a lot of pupils would be absent from school around Haymaking or Potato-harvest time.

Teachers in such schools managed to incorporate the majority of the curriculum for the year into the months not affected by the farming fraternity in the catchment area.

G in Oxfordshire

John said...

Yes, G, and we used to send little boys up carcinogenic chimneys, but that doesn't make it right for us, who now supposedly know better, to turn a blind eye and profit at the expense of another country's children, sent into fields toxic with pesticide where their hands and clothes are pierced by the thorns protecting every tuft of the precious crop - or for our government to pretend that they are unaware that the practice persists (along with other inconvenient truths such as systematic torture that get in the way of otherwise healthy economic and diplomatic relationships), despite "categorical reassurances" from the Uzbek authorities that children (not to mention university students and hospital patients) are no longer mistreated in this way for one-fifth of each year.