Wal-Mart galvanizes Uzbek anti-child labor push
September 30, 2008,
Bentonville, Ark. – Putting some heft behind the efforts of a coalition of manufacturing and retail groups to end forced child labor in Uzbekistan, global retail leader Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has instructed its vendors to cease sourcing cotton from that central Asian nation.
“We have formed an unprecedented coalition, representing 90% of the U.S. purchases of cotton and cotton-based merchandise, to bring these appalling child labor conditions to an end,” said Rajan Kamalanathan, vp of ethical standards. “There is no tolerance for forced child labor in the Wal-Mart supply chain.”
The coalition – formed by the American Association of Footwear and Apparel, Retail Industry Leaders Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel – in August demanded via the Embassy of Uzbekistan a cessation of the practice. The Uzbek government responded with a National Action Plan with steps to end forced child labor on cotton. “Once these steps can be independently verified, Wal-Mart will modify the direction to its suppliers,” the retailer said today.