As a member of the Salvation Army I am very aware of slavery and trafficking in today’s society. I also work for the joanna project and know many women who are forced to work in terrible situations.
Yet, until now, I have never come across a situation where a government has sanctioned forced labour on its own people, children included.
While searching for information on the cotton industry I came across the Anti-Slavery website.
I’m sure they wont mind if I copy part of the webpage here…
This year’s cotton harvest is underway in Uzbekistan again. Children and adults are forced to pick cotton by hand for in order to fill the shortfall in voluntary adult labour. They receive little, if any, pay.
Each citizen is given a daily quota, which, this year, will be up to 70kg of cotton a day. Those who fail to meet their targets, or who pick a low quality crop, are reportedly punished by detention, told that their grades will suffer or face problems at their day to day workplace. Children who run away from the cotton fields, or who refuse to work, are threatened with expulsion from school or college.
There are many ways to deal with this information.
- You can ignore it, since it doesn’t affect you or your family
- Go to the anti slavery link above and sign the petition
- Avoid companies who use the cotton
- Buy cotton from an alternative source
- Find organic cotton http://www.organiccotton.biz/
But now you’re aware of it the one thing you can’t do is claim you didn’t know (because you’ve read about it)