Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –
Sexy garments made for Victoria’s Secret claim to include “fair trade” fibers from cotton farms in Burkina Faso.
“Good for women,” reads a booklet accompanying a Victoria’s Secret ‘fair trade’ thong covered with blue and lavender daisies. “Good for the children who depend on them.”
But an investigative reporter for Bloomberg News found children, age 13 and under, doing backbreaking work including a 12 year old girl digging rows for cotton by hand. The farm was the length of four football fields.
In most developing countries, this work would be done by an animal and a plow, but in Burkina Faso, farmers are so poor it's easier and cheaper to use orphans.
"It's really extraordinary. The work goes on for six or seven months, all the way through the harvest," Bloomberg reporter Cam Simpson said.
Organic farms make greater demands on young workers. Children must weed the fields by hand, haul manure compost to each of the plants and pluck worms out of the cotton, and then smash them with their foot. With over 7000 fair trade farmers in 2008, investigators found children who were abused or malnourished, illegally kept out of school, and overworked.
Cotton is produced with child or forced labor in more countries than any other commodity except gold in the global supply chain, according to the U.S. Labor Department. The West African nation of Burkina Faso has been repeatedly cited for the worst forms of child labor.
Victoria's Secret's parent company has pledged an investigation.
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