Victoria’s Secret Child Labor Violation
In December 2011, Victoria’s Secret was accused of acquiring cotton from a farm that utilizes child labor but is certified as organic and fair-trade. Bloomberg News investigated the fields in Burkina Faso, West Africa and focused their story on a thirteen year old, Clarisse Kambire, who was pulled out of school to work on the cotton fields. She has to dig rows by hand across a field equivalent to the length of four football fields, haul manure on her head and pile it on every plant, and cut weeds. Victoria’s Secret marketed their underwear as a product from organic, fair-trade cotton and claimed it was “Good for women. Good for the children who depend on them.” The company also said that each purchase of their underwear would improve the lives of the women and children in Burkina Faso. According to Bloomberg News, under this particular campaign in 2009, 25 million of the garments produced were used from cotton picked by children.
The story was brought to the attention of Victoria’s Secret parent company, Limited Brands, and they said that it buys minimal cotton from Burkina Faso but it takes child-labor allegations seriously. They also said, “They describe behavior contrary to our company’s values and the code of labor and sourcing standards we require all of our suppliers to meet,” and “We are vigorously engaging with stakeholders to fully investigate this matter.” Victoria’s Secret buys directly from the farmer’s union and there are no brokers involved, so there is a contract that is directly between the union and Victoria’s Secret. One of the Burkina Faso farmers stated that he thought fair-trade meant that he couldn’t force his own children to work on the fields but other children were okay.
Within twenty-four hours of the allegations, Limited Brands responded with their own investigation in that the girl in the video posted online by Bloomberg News was actually twenty-one years old and the farmer featured in...
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