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Burkina Faso: Victoria's Secret accused of buying cotton from farms using child labour - parent company says it is "vigorously engaging with stakeholders to fully investigate this matter”

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Article
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Author: Stéphanie Carion, Essentielle [Belgique]

Une récente enquête de Bloomberg a révélé que derrière la célèbre marque de sous-vêtements sexy se cacherait une triste réalité. Victoria’s Secret [partie de VF Corp] exploiterait des centaines, voire des milliers d’enfants au Burkina Faso...Clarisse a 13 ans et elle explique comment elle se fait battre par le fermier si elle ne travaille pas assez vite. Six autres enfants ont également dévoilé à Bloomberg le cauchemar qu’ils vivaient. Ils ne sont pas rémunérés pour leur douloureux labeur et sont traités comme des esclaves. L’exploitation de coton qui fournit Victoria’s Secret est pourtant certifiée bio et équitable. Un concept qui devrait normalement éviter ce genre de dérives. La marque de dessous américaine n’a pas tardé à réagir face à cette allégation. Elle dit ignorer ces pratiques et a annoncé l’ouverture d’une enquête. Victoria’s Secret précise que si les faits sont réels, ce serait bien entendu contraire aux valeurs de sa compagnie.

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Article
15 December 2011

Victoria’s Secret Revealed in African Child Labor

Author: Cam Simpson, Bloomberg

Clarisse Kambire’s nightmare rarely changes. It’s daytime. In a field of cotton plants that burst with purple and white flowers, a man in rags towers over her, a stick raised above his head...The man ordering her awake is the same one who haunts the 13-year-old girl’s sleep...the farmer she labors for in a...cotton field...This harvest is Clarisse’s second. Cotton from her first went from her hands onto the trucks of a Burkina Faso program that deals in cotton certified as fair trade. The fiber from that harvest then went to factories in India and Sri Lanka, where it was fashioned into Victoria’s Secret underwear...An executive for Victoria’s Secret’s parent company says the amount of cotton it buys from Burkina Faso is minimal, but it takes the child-labor allegations seriously. “They describe behavior contrary to our company’s values and the code of labor and sourcing standards we require all of our suppliers to meet,” Tammy Roberts Myers, vice president of external communications for Limited Brands Inc., said in a statement...“We are vigorously engaging with stakeholders to fully investigate this matter.” [also refers to Starbucks, Wal-Mart]

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