Today’s Observer newspaper has reported how they have found child labour being used in a factory that supplies finished clothing items to clothes retailer Gap.
Gap have immediately promised to look into this and have already taken the item in questions off their racks. All stock will be destroyed.
This is yet again another sign that things are changing with more and more Corporate companies being held accountable for their business practices.
Though Gap may have taken all due diligence, it seems that this particular factory was only discovered to be using child labour by some persistent digging around. However, I am convinced that there must be many more such factories and western companies do need to be even more diligent.
India, despite its current lustre of rapid growth and development still has some of the world’s poorest people and its bustling economy is based on some of the worst working practices, conditions and sweatshops in the world.
Corporates have to learn just what damage such practices can have on their reputation. In the days of Facebook social networking, people around the world can be quickly galvanised to take action against a company if it is seen to be behaving unethically.
What can Gap do now to rescue this situation?
Well, apart from removing the relevant clothes from their shops and making the appropriate PR statements, maybe they can compensate the children involved and set up a fund to free them from their bonded labour which is effectively slavery.
Let us see what Gap actually do.
It is also up to all of us to realise what we can all do to so as to avoid such practices. This is what Professor Sheotaj Singh, co-founder of the DSV, or Dayanand Shilpa Vidyalaya, a Delhi-based rehabilitation centre and school for rescued child workers said to the Observer newspaper:-
‘Consumers in the West should not only be demanding answers from retailers as to how goods are produced but looking deep within themselves at how they spend their money.’
So there are 2 things we should all take on:
1. Review how and on what we spend our money on. Enhance your life with those products that add value to your life in an ethical and moral way.
2. Demand that our retailers behave in an open and ethical manner at all times.
We CAN make child labour a thing of the past.