Labor Department raps Uzbekistan on cotton labor ills
-- Home Textiles Today, 9/11/2009 1:44:00 PM
Washington. – The U.S. Department of Labor has identified cotton from the central Asian nation of Uzbekistan as one of the goods on its list of products linked to both child and forced labor.
The International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), a coalition of activists, notes that its complaint filed against Uzbekistan under the Generalized System of Preferences is currently under review by the Office of the US Trade Representative.
One associate of ILRF, investment fund Calvert Group, Ltd. stated, “As investors we are very concerned that our portfolios are free from products made with forced child labor, and have long been aware of the problems in Uzbek cotton.”
“We are working with a number of brands and retailers who are already taking steps to ensure they are not doing business with cotton producers who exploit children. We welcome the Department of Labor's list as an important tool to help us screen against these tainted investments,” said Bennett Freeman, senior vp of sustainability research and policy, Calvert Group.
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