UK: EJF campaigns to end child labour in cotton production
The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) has launched a collection of T-shirts designed by Giles Deacon, Allegra Hicks, Zandra Rhodes and John Rocha to raise awareness of the use of forced child labour in cotton production.
The charity's campaign is also being supported by celebrities including Ugly Betty star Ashley Jensen, Brit supermodel Lily Cole, singers Joss Stone and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
The men's and women's T-shirts are produced on organic and fairly traded cotton and printed with organic certified inks.
EJF wants to draw particular attention to conditions in the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan, the world's third largest exporter of cotton.
Here, roughly a third of the population are forced to work in conditions near slavery for the state-run cotton industry.
Schools across the country are shut down for the cotton harvest as children from the age of 7 are sent to work for weeks in the fields, paid little or nothing.
Juliette Williams< EJF programme director, says: "Choosing organic and fairly traded cotton actively supports communities in some of the world's poorest nations, where fair and equitable trade to the west can literally mean the difference between life and death.
"With public support, companies have been inspired to look at the way the cotton they buy and sell is produced, and high street names are saying "no" to cotton from Uzbekistan until child labour and environmental abuses are eradicated."
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