Forced Child Labor: From the Fields to Your Closet

This cotton can end up in clothing sold in the United States.

This cotton can end up in clothing sold in the United States.

How does cotton picked by Uzbek children end up in the products we use and wear every day?

From the Field: Travels of Uzbek Cotton Through the Value Chain, a new report from the Responsible Sourcing Network, a project of As You Sow, traces that journey to help brands and retailers eradicate Uzbek cotton produced with forced child labor from their supply chains.

Building on existing human rights reports about the cotton industry in Uzbekistan, From the Field digs into the Uzbek industries of cotton agriculture, ginning, processing, and shipping before it is exported. The report demystifies the value chain to give brands insight into the risks attached to this controversial cotton.

From the Field is the first in a series of reports designed to present the facts about Uzbek cotton to enable brands to eliminate forced child labor from their value chains.

Research for the report began in 2010 and culminated with RSN’s trip to Uzbekistan in the fall of 2011. It contains the most current available data and statistics on the Uzbek cotton industry and its exporting partners.

Responsible Sourcing Network will circulate the report among its coalition of over 80 international manufacturers and retailers of apparel and cotton goods. The information will also be presented in a series of webinars for corporate social responsibility, sourcing, and design professionals beginning in May of 2012.

Image: Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights