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'Behind the Seams' social compliances haunt Indian apparel industry
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Indian exporters not only face tough competition with price and quality of their merchandise, but also with social, and environmental standards in the global market.


Indian apparel industry boasts itself of using ethical manufacturing process, of standards complying with international quality requirements, and not employing child labor. But still, it cannot positively assert that its supply chain is 100% spick and span. The US Department of Labor (DOL) alleges the Indian industry by listing a number of products that has been manufactured by indentured, forced, and child labor. The Executive Order (EO) 13126 on the 'Prohibition of Acquisition of Products by Forced or Indentured Child Labor' was initially signed on June 1999. The latest revision came on October 4th, 2011 with updates, which includes the Indian apparel industry.


Earlier in 2010, September, the Government of California has passed the Supply Chain Transparency Act (SB 657). Effective from January 1st, 2012, it requires companies with a gross more than $100 million to give a declaration regarding what they do to eliminate slavery in their supply chains. They are also expected to make these details online on their corporate websites. In the absence of the website, a written disclosure needs to be sent within 30 days of receiving a request. Manufacturers and retailers doing business in California will be required to disclose the efforts taken by them to eliminate slavery and human trafficking from their supply chains. The act encompasses five major areas, independent and unannounced supplier audits, third party supply chain verification, supplier certification of legal compliance, staff training on forced labor and human trafficking, and internal accountability standards.


ILO (International Labor Organization) estimates state that across the globe, more than 215 million children are engaged as child labors. They are exposed to worst forms of labor such as slavery, hazardous environment, and other forms of forced labor. A latest list released by US labor department regarding the goods produced by child or forced labor under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act states an appalling fact that cotton, footwear and apparel makers top the list of worst offenders. The list specifies India as one among the top countries involved in child labor.

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Published On Thursday, January 19, 2012
 
 
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