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18 minutes for the shirt on your back [Uzbekistan]

Author: Andrew Stroehlein, Director of Media and Information for the International Crisis Group, Published on: 31 October 2007

“There’s hope for British journalism yet”, is how a former colleague summed up BBC 2 Newsnight’s fantastic package...showing how Uzbekistan’s systematic use of child slave labour in the cotton fields shores up one of the most brutal regimes in the world and supplies the international cotton market...with its raw material...[C]hildren as young as nine [pick] cotton for next to nothing - or indeed nothing...Representatives of international firms dealing in cotton look foolish in their attempt to deny all knowledge of the practice, even though reports from the Environmental Justice Foundation and my own International Crisis Group have been highlighting it for years...[T]he only key point the Newsnight package missed...[is] the incongruous fact that the EU actually relaxed its sanctions on Uzbekistan this month.

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