Although I had decided not to blog for the rest of the year because of the holidays, I was so moved by this story reported by Cam Simpson for bloomberg that I had to write about it. According to his article ( which I suggest you read) Victoria secret is using child labor in Africa specifically in Burkina Faso to make your lingerie. The story which broke two days ago is about a young girl Clarisse who is forced to work in a cotton farm. She is not allowed to go to school , she is malnouriched, she is beaten, and barely gets to sleep at night. Here is just a snipet of the article:
To understand the plight of Clarisse and others like her, Bloomberg News spent more than six weeks reporting in Burkina Faso, including interviewing Clarisse, her family, neighbors and leaders in her village. Her experiences were similar to those of six other children extensively interviewed by Bloomberg, such as an emaciated 12-year-old boy working in a nearby field.Interviews around the country with fair-trade growers, officers of fair-trade cooperatives and child-welfare officials reveal that there is little training and few if any safeguards against using children, even after dangers were uncovered by the 2008 report.
Victoria’s Secret, whose supermodel “Angels” helped it set record sales and profit in the third quarter of 2011, agreed in 2007 to a deal to buy fair-trade and organic cotton from Burkina Faso. The aim was to purchase sustainable raw materials and benefit female African farmers.In time for Valentine’s Day 2009, the retailer marketed a special lingerie line made from “pesticide-free, 100 percent rain-fed cotton” and sold with the claim that each purchase improved lives in the country.
Read the whole story here and here. This got me thinking about the fact that hundred of companies these days claim to be using fair trade. Are they really using fair trade? I am not sure if there is a committee in place to verify such claims but child labor is serious business. Its about time companies take responsibility for the misery they are causing in poor countries. The goal is to create more jobs for the communities . Celebrities who flaunt their diamonds in our faces everyday do they care to know where it come from? These type of stories really move me because being an African girl myself I think its safe to say that this could have been me. There are millions of little girls like Clarisse suffering in farms around the world to support the west love of consumerism. I live in the west and I love shopping at Victoria's secret and learning about this makes me question about how much are they hiding from us. Should this make me stop buying from them? yes would I stop buying from them probably not and that is the honest truth. This is a never ending debate , so my question to you is would you still wear victoria's secret or any other clothes knowing that there is child suffering in Africa, or Asia to make it ?
Photo: Getty images