Global: Brands accused of "fuelling modern-day slavery"
A number of major clothing brands have been accused of "fuelling modern-day slavery" through their failure to address child and forced labour in their supply chains, according to a report released by the Not For Sale campaign.
The report grades companies on the extent to which they have traced their suppliers and established systems throughout their supply chains that can enable them to prevent and address the issue.
The report found that Amor Holdings, Lacoste, Robinson Textiles, Skechers and Spiewak all received F grades, while Abercombie & Fitch, Aeropostale, Aramark, Blauer, Bob Baker, Carter's, Express, Fechheimer Brothers, Forever 21, Fruit of the Loom, Garan, Propper, Quiksilver and Wal-Mart received D ratings and need to make significant improvements.
Publicly traded companies were found to perform better than privately held firms, with 36% gaining A and B grades, 60% earning a C or D, and 4% getting an F.
Meanwhile, 37% of the privately held companies scored an A or B grade, 37% scored a C or D and 26% scored an F.
The study looked at companies' code of conduct, sourcing and subcontracting policies and involvement with other organisations working to combat child and forced labour. It also considered their traceability and transparency, monitoring, and training and worker rights.
The report said that while child and forced labour is less prevalent in cut-make-trim manufacturing than 20 years ago, it still exists in global apparel production hubs. Included on the list was China, India, Vietnam, Argentina, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Jordan.
Meanwhile, China, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and South Korea and India were singled out as using child and forced labour in textiles production. And Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Benin, Zambia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgz Republic, Pakistan and China were reported to use child and forced labour in cotton production.
"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."
An interactive databank with intelligence on the major apparel sourcing countries
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