42,000 Care2 Members Urge Gap Inc. to Help Stop Child Labor

When an injustice in the world is revealed, a Care2 petition is an easy, effective way to get thousands of people to help you do something about it. This Care2 petition is urging Gap, Inc. to step up its efforts to protect garment workers who sew some of its clothes from labor rights abuses after a report by Human Rights Watch came out revealing that the Cambodian government was failing to do so.

The petition has over 42,000 signatures and counting.

The 140-page Human Rights Watch report, Work Faster or Get Out’: Labor Rights Abuses in Cambodia’s Garment Industry, came out in March and reveals “lax government enforcement of labor laws and brand actions that hinder monitoring and compliance.” It also specifically identifies ”the use of underage child labor” in Cambodian factories that produce clothing for popular U.S. brands including the Gap.

The garment workers in this case are predominantly women who produce for international apparel brands, according to Human Rights Watch, which explained that these workers “often experience forced overtime, pregnancy-based discrimination, and anti-union practices that neither the government nor major brands have adequately addressed.”

Since Gap is one of those apparel brands, the Care2 petition targets Gap, Inc.’s CEO Arthur L Peck.

The petition explains that workplace violations are often difficult for U.S. companies to detect because of a lack of transparency in their supply chain.

It’s true that when it comes to reports of unsafe working conditions in the garment industry, pinpointing the culprit(s) isn’t as simple as it might seem because of a little thing called “sub-contracting.” The petition describes:

To fill orders, large Cambodian factories will subcontract work with smaller operations that are less closely monitored. In fact, some of the worst offenders of workers’ rights are these smaller factories, which are not licensed to export goods and not directly contracted by The GAP or other major US brands.

Should major apparel brands be held accountable for worker abuses when the producers they contract with sub-contract out to get the job done?

Petition author Chris Wolverton thinks so. His petition addressed to CEO Peck reads:

Many of the worst labor conditions persist in small factories that are subcontracted by your suppliers and not necessarily subject to monitoring and compliance actions by your partners at Better Factories Cambodia.

With the Cambodian government largely failing to act, we the undersigned believe that your company must do more to ensure that the products you sell are ethically manufactured.

The petition calls on Peck to work with Better Factories Cambodia to step up monitoring and compliance efforts of the vendors that Gap contracts with directly and to expand these accountability measures to the factories that are subcontracted by Gap vendors.

Better Factories Cambodia monitors factories, trains management and workers, and provides guidance and advice on factory improvements that help.

The petition also urges Gap to increase transparency by going public with its list of suppliers, like Adidas and other major brands have done.

Gap is outspoken when it comes to its social responsibility efforts, which the Care2 petition alludes to:

Time and time again, The GAP has reiterated its commitment to human rights and ending child labor. Unfortunately, a report by Human Rights Watch finds that the Cambodian government is largely failing to find and prosecute violations of labor laws and undermining your company’s efforts to ensure ethical sourcing of the goods you sell.

Interesting to note, Gap was recently recognized as one of the world’s most ethical companies, for the fourth year in a row.

Now that the word is out about the Cambodian government’s failing to protect garment workers from labor rights abuses thanks to the Human Rights Watch report, Gap will need to do something about it, or risk becoming complicit, or at the very least, not the do good company it proclaims to be.

It’s shameful that in this day and age, garment workers around the world are still suffering to sew. So much so, that shoppers recently said they found ‘cry for help’ labels sewn into clothing labels by sweatshop workers and a fake clothing label campaign exists to raise awareness about the persistent horrors of sweatshops.

As for the Cambodian workers mentioned in that Human Rights Watch report, it’s too soon to tell whether Care2′s petition will make a difference, but one thing is certain: Care2 petitions have worked in the past.

If you agree that Gap should step up its efforts to ensure that the Cambodian workers who sew their clothes are being treated fairly, consider adding your signature to the petition.

And the next time you hear about an injustice happening somewhere in the world, do something extraordinary about it by starting your own Care2 petition.

 

48 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey2 years ago

Tyfs

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Christine C.
Chandra C2 years ago

Thanks!

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Ricky Thamman
Ricky T2 years ago

Signed! I work in the rag trade and always encourage ethical fashion.

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Laurie Mazzeo
Laurie Mazzeo2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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Laurie Mazzeo
Laurie Mazzeo2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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Laurie Mazzeo
Laurie Mazzeo2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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Laurie Mazzeo
Laurie Mazzeo2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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Laurie Mazzeo
Laurie Mazzeo2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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Jane H.
Jane H2 years ago

Hooray for Care 2 which informs us, raises our conciousness and helps us do something about injustice. Whether or not it succeeds is not up to us

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