Harvesting the ‘White Gold’ Cover Image

Harvesting the ‘White Gold’
Harvesting the ‘White Gold’

Author(s): Jos Boonstra, Sébastien Peyrouse, Marlène Laruelle, Tika Tsertsvadze
Contributor(s): Jos Boonstra (Editor), Nafisa Hasanova (Editor), Tika Tsertsvadze (Editor)
Subject(s): Agriculture, Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Civil Society, Governance, Labor relations, International relations/trade, Criminology, Studies in violence and power, Economic development, Socio-Economic Research
Published by: CEPS Centre for European Policy Studies
Keywords: Child labour; Uzbek cotton; cotton trade; human rights; Uzbekistan; agriculture; poverty; economic development; forced labour; cotton industry;
Summary/Abstract: How do you know that your sweater has not been made of cotton harvested by Uzbek children or produced by their counterparts in a Bangladeshi workshop? You don’t. Many companies do not carefully check through a ‘track and trace’ system if their products are produced by forced or child labour. At the same time many governments do not follow the labour laws that they signed up to. The sad truth is that fashion demands in the West still largely prevail over human rights in developing countries. But there is progress. This month 60 clothing firms agreed to boycott products with Uzbek cotton until hard proof exists that Uzbekistan has stopped child labour. This applies at least to those products in which Uzbek cotton can be traced which is often not possible yet because the link between cotton traders and Asian factories is often not clear to Western brands. The pledge of the clothing industry was spurred by the decision of the organisers of New York’s fashion week to cancel Gulnara Karimova’s show due to concerns over child labour. Unknowingly the Uzbek president’s daughter and ambassador to Spain and the UN in Geneva has helped to highlight her country’s human rights shortcomings.

  • Page Count: 7
  • Publication Year: 2011
  • Language: English