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Are Slaves and Children Making Our Clothes?

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What follows is a medley of articles on the subject of child and economic slaves at work making our clothing apparel.  The purpose here is to raise awareness surrounding this issue and provide readers a starting point for learning how we unwittingly contribute to human exploitation.

Are Slaves and Children Making Our Clothes?

New Report Finds Major US Clothing Brands Are Fueling Modern-Day Slavery Through Negligence

by , 11/24/12


new report by the California-based non-profit organization Not for Sale has found that many major fashion retailers, including Abercrombie and Fitch, Carters, Quiksilver, Walmart, and Aramark, are complicit in the persistence of modern-day slavery through negligence. The report, titled Apparel Industry Trends: From Farm to Factory, studied the publicly available and self-reported data of 300 apparel brands so as to determine the supply chain links between those brands and companies known to engage in child- and forced-labor—abuses suffered by an estimated 300 million people worldwide.



Not For Sale released today a revealing report on slavery in the apparel industry, featuring supply chain ratings for more than 300 brands. Modern-day slavery, which currently affects more than 30 million people, is used throughout the production of many clothing products sold on U.S. shelves. The report, “Apparel Industry Trends: From Farm to Factory,” uses publicly available information and data self-reported by companies to rate how brands are addressing child and forced labor in their supply chains.As U.S. sales for Fair Trade Certified products grew 75 percent in 2011, consumers increasingly want to know the impact behind their purchases. The global slave trade is complex and product supply chains remain opaque, making it difficult for even the most informed consumers to know how their purchases are connected to labor abuses. Not For Sale makes the rankings available to shoppers online and through a smart phone application, Free2Work, as a tangible way to advocate against modern-day slavery in day-to-day life.

“To create true breakthrough in the fight against slavery, we need systemic change,” said David Batstone, Not For Sale President and Co-Founder. “Free2Work and the Apparel Industry Trends Report equip everyone to advocate for that change and make it a part of their everyday life.”

The report released in a presentation on Nov. 13 in Ankara, Turkey at the United Nations General Assembly expert group meeting on “Human Trafficking & Global Supply Chains.” The meeting included corporate, government, labor union, and NGO leaders from around the globe. It is the first comprehensive report on forced and child labor in international supply chains.

Not For Sale created the report to urge the clothing sector forward by offering best practice examples from industry leaders. It also points out brands that are fueling modern-day slavery through their negligence: Carter’s, Quiksilver, Walmart, and Aramark all receive “D” or “F” ratings and need to make significant improvements.

Ratings only indicate how companies are addressing the particular issue of modern slavery and do not reflect the overall measure of general supply chain working conditions. For example, while Adidas receives a “B,” campaigning is currently underway in response to the company’s refusal to pay over a million dollars in wages owed to Indonesian workers.

This is Not For Sale’s first full-length Free2Work report, and the organization has plans to release similar industry trend reports in upcoming months. To date, Not For Sale has released indepth grades and profiles on over 500 brands in industries like apparel, food and electronics.

Click here to view the report and become a smart consumer.

How Many Slaves Work for You? New Online Tool Measures Your Impact

by , 10/05/11

Bought a smartphone lately? What about a computer, T-shirt, or even a cup of Joe? Chances are, slaves made them. The Emancipation Proclamation may have abolished slavery in the United States nearly 150 years ago, but forced labor is still alive and well in the rest of the world. No matter what the brand, everything boils down to the supply chain: the people who pick and mill your cotton, mine the tungsten and gold, and harvest the coffee beans. And they’re all working for you. At least 27 million bonded laborers exist worldwide, according to Slavery Footprint, a new website and mobile app that measures the role forced labor plays in supporting our lifestyles. Most of us would like to assume the answer is zero, but even the most conscientious of consumers aren’t exempt—according to the calculator, this writer has 22 slaves forced to work against their will.


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