Archive for Monday, October 29, 2007

Gap promises action against child labor

October 29, 2007

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— Clothing retailer Gap Inc. said Sunday that it will convene all of its Indian suppliers to "forcefully reiterate" its prohibition on child labor after a British newspaper found children as young as 10 making Gap clothes at a sweatshop in New Delhi.

The Observer newspaper quoted the children as saying they had been sold to the sweatshop by their families in Indian states such as Bihar and West Bengal and would not be allowed to leave until they had repaid that fee.

Some, working as long as 16 hours a day to hand-sew clothing, said they were not being paid because their employer said they were still trainees.

Gap said it first learned of the child labor allegations last week and discovered the sweatshop was being run by a subcontractor that a vendor had hired in violation of Gap's policies. The product made there will be destroyed so it cannot be sold in Gap stores, company spokesman Bill Chandler said.

Besides its chain of Gap stores, the company also owns Old Navy and Banana Republic and operates more than 3,100 stores in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Ireland and Japan.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 12 months ago

Rather than destroying the clothes these kids made, a more appropriate response would be to find these kids, and make sure they have decent living conditions and access to educational opportunities.

number3of5 9 years, 12 months ago

Why destroy the clothing? Instead pay the children for their labor and fine the subcontractor for the amount it takes to pay these children. Then send them home to their families.

jonas 9 years, 12 months ago

"a more appropriate response would be to find these kids, and make sure they have decent living conditions and access to educational opportunities."

How easy do you think it is to do that? While I appreciate the sentiment, the cavalier way in which you say this suggests to me that you think it would be much easier to do that it probably actually is.

jonas 9 years, 12 months ago

Was that a problematic phrase? Perhaps I misunderstood, but the way your post read to me was comparable to saying: "Why don't we get Harry Potter to wave his wand, say "societus reparus," and fix the problem." In regards to a developing country such as China or India, saying lets find the kids, give them opportunities for education and a livable wage is more or less equivalent to that. In my (somewhat studied) opinion.

I hope that is more understandable.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 12 months ago

I don't care if it is difficult. This happened because the Gap wasn't adequately monitoring its third-world sweatshops-- it's up to them to at least make the effort to make it up to these kids, not make a pointless gesture of destroying the clothes that they made.

Godot 9 years, 12 months ago

"Gotta love that-suddenly spending $90 on a sheath dress seems perfectly reasonable."

Especially when that sheath dress only cost $2 to make.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 12 months ago

"Especially when that sheath dress only cost $2 to make."

Yes, but it costs considerably more than that to pay the Gap executives who find the sweatshops that rely on child slave labor, and can feign utter flabbergastedness when it's discovered.

Oracle_of_Rhode 9 years, 12 months ago

Agnostick (Anonymous) says:

Don't buy or wear clothing from The Gap, Old Navy, or Banana Republic. --

I agree. Boycott these child labor / slave labor profiteers.

jonas 9 years, 12 months ago

"It's up to them to at least make the effort to make it up to these kids, not make a pointless gesture of destroying the clothes that they made."

That's more reasonable-reading. I'd agree with that. Proper and thorough monitoring of outsourced production is a latently-realized necessity for conducting business with the proper impact. Of course, some of the problem springs from the depressed margins and prices that stores buy and sell at, and some of those, then, spring from our unwillingness to pay the extra prices such costs would cause. But again, it's not a magic-wand fix.

Also, the unfortunate other side of this coin is that many of these factories represent the best and sometimes only opportunity these people have to make money to pay for food and minimal shelter. If we expect overseas firms to operate on American standards, we're not going to be able to implement them successfully. Then those kids will just starve.

jonas 9 years, 12 months ago

"Especially when that sheath dress only cost $2 to make."

I hope you don't think that this is an accurate representation of the cost of an article of clothing that you'd find in any chain store here in America.

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