Earlier today, I mocked the American Family Association for its call this year to boycott companies that don’t use the word “Christmas” enough in their advertising. Pardon me for being blunt, but a matter like that is utterly trivial compared to something like forced child labor.
Do you have a second grader at home? Imagine if your second grader was hauled out of your home by the government against your wishes and forced to labor in the fields in order to meet some multinational apparel corporation’s demand for cotton. According to a report by the International Labor Rights Forum, that’s exactly what happens in Ubekistan:
Uzbekistan is the world’s second largest exporter of cotton. The Uzbek government has mandated children as young as seven to work in cotton fields during the late summer harvest, when they would normally begin school each year. Some children are even forced to stay in dormitories in remote areas while they pick cotton.
While over 25 companies have committed to boycotting the use of Uzbek cotton until the government ends its abusive labor practices, there are still many companies that haven’t stepped up to the plate. [Officials at] Gymboree… have been contacted and yet they refuse to concretely address this pervasive problem.
According to the ILRF report, Gymboree is knowingly using Uzbekistan’s cotton, produced using forced child labor, to make your little Olivia’s darling and overpriced striped leggings.
Are you going to be buying from Gymboree this year?