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AAFA welcomes DOL Child and Forced Labor reports
16
Dec '10
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) welcomed the publication of three reports by the U.S. Department of Labor assessing the global situation of child and forced labor. These reports, including the List of Goods Produced by Child or Forced Labor as authorized by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, often include textile, apparel, and footwear products as areas of concern.

“We applaud the U.S. Department of Labor's efforts to eradicate child and forced labor around the world,” said AAFA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “The U.S. apparel and footwear industry is dedicated to eliminating forced and child labor throughout our supply chain. We are committed to furthering safe, ethical, and humane workplaces around the world. We have and continue to work with the U.S. government and other stakeholders to address this important issue, including most recently with the well-documented continued use of forced child labor in the cotton fields in Uzbekistan.”

“We are pleased that for the first time the Department of Labor's 2009 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor under the Trade and Development Act contains specific recommendations that countries can use as they work to address the child and forced labor issues within their country,” Burke said. “The other U.S. Department of Labor reports should follow suit and provide as much guidance as possible so countries can work constructively to end child and forced labor in their countries, and provide opportunities to be removed from these lists.”

While AAFA supports the goal of eradicating forced and child labor, AAFA remains deeply concerned with the process the U.S. Department of Labor has used to develop its list of countries and industries using child and/or forced labor.

Because of a lack of well-defined criteria, many countries and broad product categories have been placed on this list in a manner that remains highly secretive and not visible to the industry stakeholders who are partners in efforts to eradicate child and forced labor. As a result, these reports often blacklist a country's entire industry, which may be comprised of thousands of factories, based on just two or three dated press reports related to just a handful of factories.

By seeking improved industry input and cooperation, these reports can begin to serve as a clear roadmap toward real progress in efforts to eradicate child and forced labor around the world.

American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA)

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