"What Not to Wear: Cotton and Child Slavery"

This discussion is organized by Anti-Slavery International together with the Environmental Justice Foundation and is hosted by Amnesty International UK. This event has been re-scheduled from June 9 when it was cancelled due to the tube strike

Uzbekistan is the third biggest exporter of cotton in the world. Its booming cotton industry generates over US$1billion annually, but the industry, which largely supplies the European market, is underpinned by a system of state-sponsored forced labour, particularly of children.
Schools are closed down for the duration of the cotton harvest and children, some as young as 10 years old, are sent to the fields to pick cotton by hand for little or no pay. Students who fail to meet their targets or refuse to work are reportedly punished with detentions and beatings or can face expulsion from school. Human rights groups estimate that up to 200,000 children are involved each year.

This discussion will focus on what can be done to end the use of forced labour in the cotton industry. Considering the action taken by some retailers to ban Uzbek cotton from their products, why do other retailers continue to use it? How can we as consumers ensure that the products we buy are free from slave labour and that we are not inadvertently contributing to the problem?