More than 60 of the world's best known apparel companies and brands, including Adidas, Burberry, C&A, Levi Strauss, Li & Fung, Liz Claiborne, PVH Corp and Wal-Mart Stores, have vowed not to source Uzbek cotton harvested using forced child labour.

The companies, who also include Carrefour, New Balance, PPR Group, Target Corporation, The TJX Companies, The Jones Group and VF Corporation, will maintain this promise until the end of the practice is independently verified by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), representing more than 800 brands, has also signed the pledge, which is being coordinated by the Responsible Sourcing Network.

The signatories want to persuade the Uzbek government to end the use of forced child labour in cotton harvesting.

Their action builds on efforts started in 2004 by a number of European and US advocacy organizations and Uzbek human rights groups.