Child Labor 2005 Report

The Apparel Industry and Codes of Conduct: Footnotes Chapter I


1 International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) (Geneva: International Labor Organization) 1996 [hereinafter IPEC Brochure].

2 ILAB's first two reports are titled, By the Sweat and Toil of Children (Volume I): The Use of Child Labor in U.S. Manufacturing and Mining Imports (1994), and By the Sweat and Toil of Children (Volume II): The Use of Child Labor in U.S. Agricultural Imports & Forced and Bonded Child Labor (1995). In addition, in March 1996, ILAB published Forced Labor: The Prostitution of Children, the proceedings of a symposium on the sexual exploitation of children held at the Department of Labor in September 1995.

3 See Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996, P.L. 104-134 (April 26, 1996); S. Rpt. 104-145, Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill, 1996.

4 For purposes of this report, the terms "apparel" and "garment" are used interchangeably.

5 Child Labour: What is to be done? Document for discussion at the Informal Tripartite Meeting at the Ministerial Level (Geneva: International Labor Office) ITM/1/1996, June 12, 1996, 26 [hereinafter Child Labour: What is to be done?].

6 See Child Labour: What is to be done? at 27.

7 See Trade, Employment and Labour Standards: A Study of Core Workers' Rights and International Trade (Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) May 14, 1996, 19-21.

8 IPEC Brochure.

9 Child Labour Today: Facts and Figures (Geneva: International Labor Organization, ILO/cLK/1) June 10, 1996 [hereinafter Child Labour Today: Facts and Figures].

10 Child Labour Today: Facts and Figures.

11 Child Labour Today: Facts and Figures. The ILO is currently working to develop better statistical information on child labor. Experimental statistical surveys have been carried out by the ILO in four countries: Ghana, India, Indonesia and Senegal. See Child Labour Surveys, Results of methodological experiments in four countries 1992-93 (Geneva: International Labor Office) 1996. The ILO's IPEC program is now utilizing its survey techniques in other countries -- Turkey, Pakistan and the Philippines (funded by the U.S. Department of Labor).

12 Globalization of the footwear, textiles and clothing industries: Report for discussion at the Tripartite Meeting on the Globalization of the Footwear, Textiles and Clothing Industries: Effects on Employment and Working Conditions (Geneva: International Labor Organization) 1996, 75 [hereinafter ILO Textile Report].

13 In the case of the People's Republic of China -- the second largest exporter of garments to the U. S. in 1995 -- documenting labor practices, including child labor, remains extremely difficult. The 1994 study noted newspaper reports and other anecdotal accounts of children 12 to 15 years old working 15 hours a day in garment factories. It is not known whether there has been any demonstrable change in the number or situation of child workers in the Chinese apparel industry.

14 For example, there is a recent report on possible child labor in a Cambodian garment factory. See American Embassy - Phnom Penh, unclassified telegram no. 2594, September 16, 1996.

15 In June 1995, the National Labor Committee (NLC) alleged that more than 100 workers at the Mandarin International garment manufacturing plant in El Salvador producing garments for The Gap were between the ages of 14 and 17. Although the employment of the young workers seemed to comply with Salvadoran law and The Gap's code of conduct, it was alleged that the young workers were forced to work longer hours than allowed by law. In December 1995, The Gap signed an agreement consenting to independent monitoring of its code of conduct. It also agreed to re-approve the Mandarin factory as a contractor when the factory could effectively implement The Gap's code. The independent monitoring group consists of local volunteers from Salvadoran NGOs.

16 In April 1996, the NLC presented testimony at a Congressional hearing alleging that clothing bearing the Kathie Lee Gifford label sold at Wal-Mart was made by illegal child labor in Honduras. The NLC claimed that the Global Fashion factory employed workers as young as 13 and forced them to work long overtime hours, and sometimes through the night. The NLC asserted that, during peak production times, the girls were not permitted to attend night school because they were forced to stay at work. A letter sent to Ms. Gifford outlining these allegations, requested her to publicly disavow the use of child labor and allow independent human rights monitors access to plants producing Kathie Lee clothing. Ms. Gifford's first response was to distance herself from the allegations, saying that she had no knowledge of illegal labor practices and no means to oversee the employment practices in the overseas production of her clothing. Later, she announced that she would take responsibility for ensuring that no children produced garments bearing her label, and encouraged other companies and celebrity endorsers to do the same. Ms. Gifford has announced her intention to hire an independent monitor to ensure that her clothing is made under appropriate labor conditions.

17 U.S. Embassy - Manila unclassified telegram no. 12371, September 17, 1996.

18 In contrast to the Philippines experience, a 1996 ILO study on the textile, clothing and footwear sector notes a trend towards outsourcing. The ILO reports that this is reflected in the use of homework and in recourse to moonlighting in small enterprises and clandestine workshops. Such practices tend to undermine basic employment and working conditions. See ILO Textile Report at 64.

19 A recent article on labor conditions in Honduran garment factories states: "Union leaders and workers say factory owners have also been reviewing their personnel records and dismissing all employees who are minors. But that does not mean the dismissed youngsters are returning to school. On the contrary, management and labor agree that most of the children have instead sought new jobs outside the assembly sector that are lower paying and more physically demanding or are buying fake documents in an effort to sneak their way back into the apparel plants." Larry Rohter, "Hondurans in 'Sweatshops' See Opportunity," The New York Times, July 13, 1996 [hereinafter "Hondurans in Sweatshops"].

20 Child Labour: Report to the ILO Committee on Employment and Social Policy (Geneva: International Labor Office) ILO Doc. GB.264/eSP/1, November 1995, 18.

21 According to Levi Strauss & Co., its Global Sourcing & Operating Guidelines adopted in 1991, were the first ever developed.

22 See International Child Labor Hearing (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor) June 28, 1996.

Child Labor 2005 Report

Child Labor

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