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4 Oct 2007

Tobias Webb, Ethical Corporation

Europe: Uzbekistan cotton – A thread of hope in the retail fabric

…Talk to anyone about cotton in Uzbekistan and the picture drawn is horrific. Forced child labour picks much of the country’s…cotton exports… Andrew Stroehleim, [of] the International Crisis Group…says that cotton exports are propping up the Karimov regime financially… One retailer is keen to act. Continental Clothing…began to label all its garments with the country of origin of the cotton. The aim…is to assure consumers that Continental’s cotton does not originate from Uzbekistan… Cargill…buys Uzbek cotton from the government. The company told Ethical Corporation it was “concerned” about child labour claims and that it does not accept the use of “illegal, abusive or enforced labour in any of our operations”.