October 29, 2007
Where Gap Kids clothes come from
Gap just can't seem to shake its problem with child labor. The UK's Observer reported over the weekend that an Indian subcontractor producing Gap's line of clothing for children was using children, purchased as slaves, to make the clothes. What a coincidence!
Children as young as little Abigail Breslin, Gap model, were found working at a sweatshop in New Delhi making girls' embroidered tops. And: they weren't getting paid. From AP: "The Observer quoted one boy identified only as Jivaj as saying that child employees who cried or did not work hard enough were hit with a rubber pipe or had oily cloths stuffed into their mouths."
Rather than claim this as part of an innovative approach to developing new markets for its children's products, Gap said it has no idea, finds the allegations "deeply upsetting", and is investigating.
The Observer also reports that India is the child labor capital of the world: "According to one estimate, more than 20 per cent of India's economy is dependent on children, the equivalent of 55 million youngsters under 14."
Even though they've been through the ringer over unscrupulous labor practices before, Gap keeps manufacturing its clothes in India when it knows that child labor is a common occurrence there. It's this kind of indifference to human rights that makes the company's attempt at social responsibility via its (PRODUCT) RED campaign so transparent and phony. [note: clothes for the RED campaign are made in Africa, not India. That doesn't let them off the hook. It's the principle of the thing.]
Can one kid change the world? Sure, but not by manufacturing an embroidered blouse, and sure as hell not by buying a red t-shirt.
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