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India: Widespread use of child labour revealed, for "Swarovski" beadwork on saris (article includes statements by Swarovski)

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Article
14 May 2006

For the record

Author: Observer [UK]

In 'The price of sparkle is child slavery'...concerning the use of child labour by sections of the Indian garment industry, we published a photograph of a dress by Boudicca Fashion House. We did not intend to suggest that Boudicca makes garments that involve child labour. Boudicca has written to applaud the article and point out that it is actively opposed to child labour. The Boudicca dress featured crystals that had been heated on at Boudicca's studio in London. All crystals used on Boudicca's garments are either heated on in London or hand sewn in Europe.

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Company response
4 May 2006

[Swarovski response to Observer article entitled "The Price of Sparkle is Child Labor"

Author: Swarovski

A recent article published in the London Observer/Guardian titled “The Price of Sparkle is Child Labor” incorrectly implicated Swarovski in the illegal practice of child labor, an accusation which is not only totally untrue; it also goes against every social standard that this family company has stood for in its 111 years of history...Although Swarovski does everything in its power to prevent any kind of exploitation through the network of its own clients, it would be virtually impossible to be able to control the use of small jewelry stones and beads right down to the final end user.

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Article
30 April 2006

The price of sparkle is child slavery [India]

Author: Dan McDougall, Observer [UK]

...Manoj Kumar Singh of the Bonded Labour Liberation Front [says]...'...the popularity of these sparkling adornments sold on by the firm [Swarovski] has created a life of servitude, a living nightmare for tens of thousands of children who are forced to sew them into saris or cushions or jeans and men's suits'...The Observer visited more than a dozen sweatshops in...Delhi and saw children as young as eight or nine attaching Swarovski sequins and beads to couture saris and...suits...Head of Swarovski India, Sanjay Sharma said: "...We cannot control our goods being sold on to third parties and ending up in sweatshops. The government has to be responsible for dealing with this problem, not us. But investigations like this show that the whole industry needs to get together and fight against the problem of child labour." Company spokesman Julian Vogel added: "Swarovski is not aware of, and does not authorise or condone, the use of child labour by any third party manufacturer or supplier, and Swarovski does not knowingly engage manufacturers or suppliers who do so."

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