Are the clothes you’re wearing tainted with child slavery? The answer could be yes, considering that Uzbekistan is the third top exporter—and sixth top producer—of cotton in the world. There is evidence that in the Uzbek cotton industry, children are pulled out of school during harvesting season, to work in the fields under hazardous conditions for minimal or no pay. To make matters worse, the European Union continues to grant tax breaks to Uzbekistan’s cotton imports.
Free the Slaves’ UK partner Anti-Slavery International has launched the Cotton Crimes campaign to help eradicate slavery in Uzbek cotton fields. They have set up several actions you can take TODAY!
- Sign a petition urging EU President Jerzy Buzek to immediately remove tax breaks on Uzbek cotton imports
- If you are an EU resident, send a letter to your regional Member of European Parliament calling for independent monitoring of the Uzbek cotton harvest
- Contact clothing retailers, demanding they disclose their supply chain—and make efforts to ensure that their products are not made from forced child labor
Other resources ASI have set up include a Cotton Crimes blog—a great resource for keeping up to date with breaking news on the campaign—and a list of major retailers, detailing how they have responded to demands that their cotton products be made slavery free.