Nike target of anti-slavery campaign
Nike supplier using cotton picked by forced Uzbek labour
Campaigners from Antislavery.org have challenged sportswear giant Nike over its business dealings with Daewoo International, a company that they say is knowingly profiting from forced labour in Uzbekistan.
Nike, which sources synthetics from Daewoo, is refusing to end its relationship with the South Korean company in spite of the fact that several other companies, including H&M, C&A, and Michael Kors, have moved to cut ties with Daewoo.
Antislavery.org said in a statement that “Nike’s decision to protect Daewoo sends a dangerous message to other companies and damages the efforts of Uzbek citizens who have risked their lives to bring justice to Uzbekistan’s cotton fields.”
Campaigners are now asking consumers to email Nike asking them to stop trading with Daewoo and agree to implement the Daewoo Protocol – a series of steps the company needs to take to eliminate forced labour cotton from Nike’s supply chain.
Every year, during the cotton harvest in Uzbekistan, over a million children and adults – including teachers, nurses and doctors – are forced to work in the cotton fields and meet daily picking quotas enforced by the Uzbek Government.
Over 130 apparel companies (including Nike) have taken a stand against forced labour in Uzbekistan by pledging to not buy forced labour cotton from Uzbekistan. Now, Uzbek human rights activists, including Anti-Slavery International, are calling on apparel companies to completely cut ties with companies, like Daewoo, that are profiting from Uzbek cotton.
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