Sunday, 28 October 2007

Check out INDIA'S Shocking Out sourcing Slavery

EXPOSED: 10-year-old UNPAID workers who help clothing giants make billions
GAP slave kids

CHILDREN as young as TEN are being sold into slavery by poverty-stricken parents — to churn out cheap, embroidered clothes for fashion chain Gap.
An investigation uncovered the scandal of sweatshop kids who work for NOTHING in India's capital, New Delhi.
After talking to frightened youngsters as they laboured to produce goods in time for the lucrative Christmas season, we can reveal they are:
FORCED to work without pay for up to 19 hours a day in the stifling heat.
BEATEN with a rubber pipe if they cry or protest.
KEPT in stinking, poorly-lit sweatshops running with raw sewage and
BRANDED with tattoos which bond them to their greedy bosses.
When we confronted horrified Gap chiefs with our findings, they immediately vowed to WITHDRAW tens of thousands of their embroidered children's smock tops produced by sweatshop labour before they even reach the stores.
But the news will bring little comfort to ten-year-old AMITOSH, who was sold for around 1,000 rupees—just £10. Ironically, his name means Happiness in Hindi.
Sweating in the searing heat, he wearily pulled threads through tiny sequins on one of the trendy smock tops bearing the Gap label. And he told us: "I was bought from my parents and taken to New Delhi by train.
Branded
"Men came to our village near the Nepalese border with loudhailers in July. They told our parents to send their boys to work in the city so they won't have to work on the farms.
"My father was paid a fee for me and I was brought down to Delhi by train with 40 other children. The journey took 30 hours and we weren't fed.
"I've been told I have to work off the fee paid for me so I can go home. But I am working for free. The supervisor has told me because I am learning, I don't get paid." Beside Amitosh on a wooden stool are his only belongings—a tattered comic book, a penknife, a comb and a torn blanket with an elephant motif.
Nervously, he places his grubby fingers over the faded Sanskrit figures stencilled on his arm in permanent ink. It is the number of the sweatshop he has been bonded to.
Around him in the mud-brick factory, situated in a dangerous quarter of New Delhi, half a dozen other youngsters are crouched over cramped workstations. Each is dripping in sweat, with hair coated in dust.
Their shabby four-storey unit is smeared in filth, its corridors covered in excrement from a flooded latrine.
Another child— JIVAJ, from West Bengal, who looks about 12—wept as he told us: "Our hours are hard and violence is used if we don't work hard enough.
"This is a big order for abroad, they keep telling us. Last week we spent four days working from dawn until about one in the morning next day.
"I was so tired I felt sick. If any of us cry we are hit with a rubber pipe. Some boys had oily cloths stuffed in their mouths." A third boy, MANIK, who is also on "probation" and working for free, claims to be 13 but looks far younger. He said: "I want to work here. I have somewhere to sleep at night."
Looking cautiously behind him, he added: "The boss tells me I am learning. It is my duty to stay here.
"Eventually I will make money and buy a house for my mother."
Behind the children, huge piles of completed Gap garments sit in polythene sacks, all labelled for export to Europe and the US. The company has 3,500 stores across the world and revenues of $16billion.
When we informed them of our investigation, Gap's spokesman said: "These allegations are deeply upsetting and we take it very seriously. Our suppliers and their sub-contractors are required to guarantee they won't use child labour. We firmly believe that under no circumstances is it acceptable for children to produce or work on garments. It's clear that one of our vendors violated this agreement and a full investigation is under way.
"We immediately took steps to stop this work order and to prevent the product from ever being sold in our stores. We are also convening a meeting of our suppliers in the region, at which we'll reinforce our prohibition on child labour."
Gap's iconic fashion brands have endorsements from some of Hollywood's biggest celebrities, including Madonna and Sex And The City star Sarah Jessica Parker.
Founded in 1969 by Donald Fisher, one of America's wealthiest businessmen, the firm last year embarked on a huge poster and TV campaign for Product Red, a charitable trust to fund drugs to combat AIDS and other diseases in Africa.
It was launched by U2 singer Bono and backed by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, film director Steven Spielberg and actress Penelope Cruz.
But in New Delhi, sweatshop manager Mafeed gloated as he explained to us how the child labour deal was arranged. He claimed one of the multi-national firm's Indian suppliers sub-contracted it to his bosses with a handshake, promising cash on delivery."It's how we do business here in India," he told us. "You westerners are too quick to judge life here."
Panic rising in his voice as he awaited his bosses' arrival, Mafeed added: "The workers are here by choice, they are happy, you can see that. We feed them daal (soupy lentils) and rice and pay them well. They have bedding on the roof. These boys send money home."
But Bhuwan Ribhu, a New Delhi lawyer and activist for the Global March Against Child Labour, blasted Western firms who exploit workers. He said: "The reality is most major retail firms are playing the same game, cutting costs and not sufficiently considering the consequences.
"They ought to know what outsourcing to India really means.
"Employing cheap labour without scrupulous investigation of your contractor inevitably means children will be used somewhere along the chain. " This may not be what people in the West want to hear as they pull fresh clothes from the racks but shoppers should be thinking, ‘Why am I only paying £20 for a hand embroidered top? Is this top stained with a child's sweat?'
"Not only that, but have the children been sexually and physically abused, have they been kidnapped or stolen from their parents? These questions need to be asked."
He explained that one of the most controversial industries that thrives on child labour is Zari work— intricate embroidery with sequins that has become immensely popular in European fashion stores.
"Sweatshop owners prefer to employ children for this because their thin, nimble fingers can work quicker on intricate ethnic designs," said Mr Ribhu.
"By the time the youngsters reach their mid-teens, their fingers and hands are often badly damaged and their eyesight weak from long hours of tedious work in dark rooms.
"Their growth is often stunted by years of sitting in uncomfortable, hunched positions at the bamboo-framed workstations.
"Child workers have no fixed hours of work, and for those ‘lucky' enough to get paid, the combined wages of five unskilled child workers are less than that of a single unskilled adult."
Murders.
Mr Ribhu claims a number of activists opposing child labour have been murdered by gangsters who run sweatshops and others have had threats made to their families.
He said: "Look, it is an impossible task to track down all of these terrible factories employing children.
"In the garment industry you need little more than a basement or an attic crammed with small children to make a healthy profit. Some owners even hide the children in sacks or on carefully concealed mezzanine floors designed to dodge raids. A lot of money is at stake here."
India employs more than 55 million children aged between five and 14. The UN estimates child labour contributes 20 per cent of the country's gross national production.
Professor Sheotaj Singh, who runs a school for rescued child workers, believes nothing will change as long as cut-price embroidered goods are sold in Western stores.
He said: "The key thing India has to offer is some of the world's cheapest labour and Delhi has 15,000 inadequately regulated garment factories.


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20 comments:

Rex Venom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim said...

I believe that this story has been planted by western nations

who are loosing out to the cheap labor in India and China

this story may be true
but it is not the whole picture

I will be back soon

Jim said...

Firms' worries
"A new export barrier!"
That is the immediate response when Chinese exporters are requested by foreign clients to obtain a SA8000 certificate.

The voluntary standards could become a trade barrier that consumes the profits of Chinese exporters and deny them their biggest advantage in foreign trade inexpensive labour, a key factor of production cost is likely to be reduced, they claimed.

"If we run our plant according to SA8000, our profits would be diminished a great deal," said an unnamed manager of a toy company, who said he has studied the standards word by word.
He insisted that although his plant does not reach the standards in some areas, it outperformed them in others.

South China, with its booming export-oriented economy, feels the pinch of the SA8000.
An increasing number of plants there have lost international orders due to demerits under the SA8000 requirements.

According to calculations, a 1,500-employee company will spend 230,000 yuan (US$27,811) on the first-time accreditation and following reviews for three years.
These firms also complained about the lack of available SA8000 consultants.

Chinese producers of electronic products, apparels, textiles, toys, sporting equipment and shoes are thought to be most vulnerable to the strict requirements.

Beijing-based analysts soothed industrial worries that the SA8000 requirements would reduce the benefit of access to an inexpensive labour force and affect its exporting advantage.

Long Yongtu, chief negotiator of China's World Trade Organization (WTO), said cheap labour should not be equated with dire working conditions or neglect of social accountabilities.
Long is now the secretary-general of Bo'ao Forum for Asia.

Among 500 million rural labourers in China, 20 per cent will become workers in the coming two to three decades as urbanization gathers pace.
China's labour price will not be raised very rapidly during this period as the country has such a large number of "back-up" workers, and thus the country's trade advantage will remain at least 20 years, he said.

China has formulated a set of laws, regulations and standards concerning labour and work conditions.

If the employers strictly abide by these rules, said senior certification verifier Huang Xiaolan, at least 90 per cent of Chinese firms should be fearful of the seemingly harsh SA8000 requirements.

"Many SA8000 requirements are within the local laws," she added.
Firms' concerns are mostly based on their ignorance of the standards and they take it for granted that SA8000 will be very hard to reach, said Fan.

Analysts agree that SA8000 will help improve the country's work conditions and rectify the foreign image that Chinese labour standards are low.
"Those firms who do not plan to pursue certification should also improve labour standards approaching those in the SA8000," said Zhao Shuhua, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

But experts also expressed their concern that the certification would be abused by some developed nations to curb cheap Chinese products.

This concern accelerates as the global quotas for multi-fibre products are due by the end of this year.
It is widely predicted that more trade barriers will be imposed on Chinese textile exports.


"Most imperative for the Chinese Government to deal with regarding the SA8000 impact is to define and specify the standards along with other countries under the negotiating mechanism of the WTO," he said.

The standards should not be abused or biased when they are implemented, Fan added.
"And SA8000 should be localized," she said, "we cannot expect China, a developing country with such a big population, to afford the same high-level labour standards with developed economies."

Analysts also call for the government to formulate a set of standards that cater both to Chinese conditions and comply with international norms.

In addition, the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA) should rev up efforts to put SA8000 on top of its work agenda, Zhao said.

CNCA should add SA8000 to its certification list and organize relevant agencies to help firms familiar with the standards.

As for how to deal with similar certification requests in the future, Zhao believes an early-warning system is needed to trace the changes in international standards.
Source: China Daily

http://english.people.com.cn/200407/06/eng20040706_148628.html

WHAT IS SA 8000?
SA 8000 Standard Elements
Benefits of SA 8000

http://www.dqsindia.com/sa8000.htm

Jim said...

The invisible trade barrier

The invisible trade barrier
TARUN DAS & SHARMILA KANTHA[ TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2005

The forthcoming Hong Kong ministerial meeting of the Doha Development Agenda under the WTO has officials of member countries engaging in hectic parleys for a better deal. Attention has focused on the negotiations on agriculture, with non-agricultural market access and services close behind. But one crucial impediment to free and fair trade has not received due attention — non-tariff barriers (NTB).

Multilateral and regional trading pacts encourage integration of world markets by mandating lower tariffs, but their gains are being negated by a host of NTB that countries, both developed and developing, use to protect domestic industry. Many regulations are legitimate safeguards for health, environment or others, but some unfairly go beyond accepted norms and act as barriers to trade. At a recent national meet on NTB, Indian exporters stressed that regulatory setups of other countries were hobbling their efforts to step up exports. A recent OECD study on NTB indicates that developing countries have ratcheted up their share of world exports from 17% in 1993 to 27% in 2003, with a shift from low value-added exports to machinery and transport equipment.

While the effect of tariffs on trade is easier to determine, the impact of NTB is more difficult to assess as they are non-quantifiable, less transparent, and differ widely.

The WTO has classified NTB under seven broad categories relating to NAMA. These include government participation in trade, customs and administrative procedures, technical barriers to trade (TBT), sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), specific limitations, charges on imports, and others. Members were invited to identify NTB that affected their exports and submit notifications to the WTO.


The OECD paper studied 1,200 notifications received from 21 non-OECD countries. It found that almost half the notifications centred on TBT. Stringent technical regulations and standards beyond international norms, expensive testing and certification, and complicated marking and packaging requirements were the main problems faced by traders. Customs and administrative procedures such as rules of origin, customs classifications, anti-dumping duties, import licensing procedures and others were the second major barrier set. SPS measures relating to maximum residue levels, pest/disease free zones, etc. were the third most often cited notifications. Quantitative restrictions, charges on imports and others were at relatively low levels. The national conference on NTB made sectoral presentations on NTB faced by Indian business in the fast-growing export sectors of textiles, agriculture and food processing, chemicals and electronics. In the textile sector, while quotas have been removed, preferences given by Canada, the US and the EU to regional trade partners and least developing countries prevail.

Regulations regarding labour standards, such as SA 8000, and environmental norms, such as ISO 14000, as well as anti-dumping duties also act as NTB for Indian textile exporters. In the agricultural and food processing sectors, SPS measures are the dominant concern. Maximum residue levels affected exports of livestock products to the EU, pest/disease free zones were placed by Japan for mangoes and grapes, the definition of whiskey restricted exports in the EU, and equivalence on standards took too long, felt exporters.

The chemical sector has to contend with multilateral environment agreements such as the Basel Convention or the Montreal Protocol, as well as environment stipulations from importing countries. The EU has recently instituted REACH, for registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals, with high standards of regulations that has already attracted action by the US, Japan and other countries.

The fast-growing electronics industry faces social NTB, such as SA 8000 and OSHAS 18001 for occupational health and safety.

Technical barriers mean conforming to TQM practices and attaining voluntary international standards which are costly to acquire.

Restrictions on hazardous substances, ISO 14000 and ‘end of life’ disposal form environmental barriers. The ministry of commerce and industry is actively addressing NTB in multilateral trade negotiations on the WTO platform.

At the recent mini-ministerial meeting in Dalian, minister Kamal Nath intervened to keep NTB on the table for the G-20 agenda. Under the proactive government initiatives, India is emerging as a major player in negotiations, specially as a voice for the developing countries. Industry is also active in collaborating with the ministry on this issue. Indian industry must identify and highlight such impediments to their export efforts. (The authors are with CII)
©Bennett, Coleman and Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-1303223,prtpage-1.cms

graeme said...

Subject: Fw: Italians

An 18 year old Italian girl tells her Mom that she has missed her period
for 2 months. Very worried, the mother goes to the drugstore and buys a
pregnancy kit.

The test result shows that the girl is pregnant. Shouting, cursing,
crying, the mother says, "who was the pig that did this to you? I want to
know!"

The girl picks up the phone and makes a call. Half an hour later, a
Ferrari stops in front of their house. A mature and distinguished man with
gray hair and impeccably dressed in an Armani suit steps out of the of the
Ferrari and enters the house. He sits in the living room with the father,
mother, and the girl and tells them:

"Good morning, your daughter has informed me of the problem. I can't marry

her because of my personal family situation but, I'll take charge. I will
pay all costs and provide for your daughter for the rest of her life.
Additionally, if a girl is born, I will bequeath a Ferrari, a beachhouse, 2
retail stores, a townhouse, a beachfront villa, and a $2,000,000 bank
account. If a boy is born, my legacy will be a couple of factories and a
$4,000,000 bank account. If twins, they will receive a factory and
$2,000,000 each. However, if there is a miscarriage, what do you suggest I
do?"

At this point, the father, who had remained silent, places a hand firmly
on the man's shoulder and tells him, "You f*ck her again!"

Jim said...

DAMN
if u r that rich
u can get away with any thing

amy ...swansea said...

Ooh Ooh, I'll settle for a large shopping mall and used ferrari-quick -wotsis addy.
Mr (_$_)

Anonymous said...

http://newsticker.welt.de/index.php?

Gap Inc. Issues Statement on Media Reports on Child Labor
In response to media reports issued today, Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) issued a statement clarifying information surrounding a UK media report on the use of child labor in an unauthorized facility that produced a single product for Gap. Earlier this week, the company was informed about an allegation of child labor at a facility in India that was working on one product for GapKids. An investigation was immediately launched. The company noted that a very small portion of a particular order placed with one of its vendors was apparently subcontracted to an unauthorized subcontractor without the company’s knowledge or approval. This is in direct violation of the company’s agreement with the vendor under its Code of Vendor Conduct. Marka Hansen, president of Gap North America, made the following statement today: "We strictly prohibit the use of child labor. This is a non-negotiable for us – and we are deeply concerned and upset by this allegation. As we’ve demonstrated in the past, Gap has a history of addressing challenges like this head-on, and our approach to this situation will be no exception. "In 2006, Gap Inc. ceased business with 23 factories due to code violations. We have 90 people located around the world whose job is to ensure compliance with our Code of Vendor Conduct. "As soon as we were alerted to this situation, we stopped the work order and prevented the product from being sold in stores. While violations of our strict prohibition on child labor in factories that produce product for the company are extremely rare, we have called an urgent meeting with our suppliers in the region to reinforce our policies. "Gap Inc. has one of the industry’s most comprehensive programs in place to fight for workers’ rights overseas. We will continue to work with the government, NGOs, trade unions, and other stakeholder organizations in an effort to end the use of child labor.” For more information on Gap Inc.’s social responsibility efforts, including detailed information on its ethical sourcing program, please see gapinc.com. About Gap Inc. Gap Inc. is a leading international specialty retailer offering clothing, accessories and personal care products for men, women, children and babies under the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Piperlime brand names. Fiscal 2006 sales were USD 15.9 billion. Gap Inc. operates more than 3,100 stores in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Ireland and Japan. In addition, Gap Inc. is expanding its international presence with franchise agreements for Gap and Banana Republic in Asia and the Middle East.

© Welt
erschienen am 28.10.2007 um 20:59 Uhr

Keshi said...

ewwwwwwww now we may hv to think twice b4 outsourcing to India then!

Keshi.

Vest said...

Thank you to those who responded to the plight of these youngsters in India and elsewhere, as far as I can work out the problem, it seems that it will continue on its merry way until poverty is reduced by the Indian Govt by way of a living minimal wage and shorter working hours.
I am certain these industries will survive under these conditions, a little less perhaps in the pockets of the marketeers, and I am sure the western consumer would only be too pleased to know by paying more they are easing the suffering of the exploited under privileged.
Let us all hope something good will happen soonest, this smacks of 19 century British and Yankee slavery.
Vest.

Graeme: Are you sure that Italian bloke wasn't a New Delhi sweatshop tycoon?

Jim said...

Monday, October 29, 2007
India on top

Mukesh becomes world's richest, Sensex hits 20k

By IE
Monday October 29, 07:43 PM
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani on Monday became the richest person in the world, surpassing American software czar Bill Gates, Mexican business tycoon Carlos Slim Helu and famous investment guru Warren Buffett, courtesy the bull run in the stock market.
Following a strong share price rally today in his three group companies -- India's most valued firm Reliance Industries, Reliance Petroleum and Reliance Industrial Infrastructure Ltd -- the net worth of Mukesh Ambani rose to 63.2 billion dollars (Rs 2,49,108 crore).
In comparison, the net worth of both Gates and Slim is estimated to be slightly lower at around 62.29 billion dollars each, with Slim leading among the two by a narrow margin

Vest said...

The Average number of callers per day to this site over the past month stands at 57.4. Yesterday the number of callers was 387. 74.8 were new callers, but sadly the number of comments was a miserly 14.
Probably the info in the last post had bloggers stifled for words. However,if it reaches into areas where it will do something to alleviate this disgusting practice it will be another step towards making our world a better place to live in.
Thank you callers. Particulaly JIM. Also sweet Keshi who can always find time to call xxx.
VEST.

lower deck lawyer said...

Appears to me that Keshi in the eyes of vest might be worth a ferrari or two. Mike.

Jim said...

i bid 4 ferraris

Jim said...

if u want more visitors
u need to do HNT

rather ask Rosemary to do it

Jim said...

At 1:23 PM, Jim said...
the worst evil MADISON AVENUE guys created was the BARBIE DOLL image

an impossible body type that all women wud aspire for

this gave birth to the medical cosmetics industry where the female body is redesigned by plastic surgeons

so we had breast enlargements
breast reductions
tummy tuck ins
and ANOREXIA

God forgive the MADison Avenue guys
for they know not what they do


At 1:29 PM, Jim said...
then the simple living of Gandhiji was destroyed

dal roti kapda and makan was not sufficient for guys


for more visit Keshis current post

Jim said...

REALITY of LIFE
Life isn't just full of happiness,It's sunsets, it's love, it's tears.
It's the thoughts of yesterdays memories,That can wash away all out fears.

It's that very painful experience,That each one of us has had.
It's the laughter that fills the air,

It's the tears when you are sad.
It's loving that someone special,
That at one time made you smile.

It's the pain of losing that person,
But the memories that make it worthwhile.

It's that child in every one of us, Although in time we'll all be old.
It's the good times we'll never forget,
It's the memories we'll always hold.
It's the hug that we all need,When we'd rather drown in our sorrow.

It's the hope in every one of us,That makes us hold on for tomorrow.
Copyright © By Stephanie Clark
Posted by Nicholas at 9:55 AM 6 comments

Posted by Jim at 6:14 AM 0 comments Links to this post

Vest said...

Jim And Mike: Our mutual friend Keshi should you compare women to a particular make of car; would contain the quality of a Rolls Royce and the desirability of a Red Farrari.

Vest said...

Jim: Regarding HNT, being the owner of a 23cm 4 pounder kransky is HARD to keep a secret, without displaying this phenomena to all and sundry, especially wanton female bloggers and the odd flower boy.

senior of junior vests #1sonThe CureThe Cure said...

The Cure
OOOPS.......
A black man goes to a doctor with a problem - he can't stop jogging!
To cure the man, the doctor puts two lines of white powder on his desk and tells him to snort them.
The black man does what the doctor says and immediately after, he stops dead still.
"Rock me. Is that cocaine?" he asks the doctor.
"No" the doctor replies. "It's Omo washing powder- guaranteed to stop coloureds from running."

Goodbye Dear Rosemary. (Final)

      It was around 3 pm Wednesday March 8 That Rosemary returned from 'Day Care', she looked fine and healthy and bubbly and gave ...