My favorite Gap sweat-shirt was probably made by a child working endlessly to sew and stitch. It makes me sick to think that child labor still exists, but the truth of the matter is that it does and probably always will. So the question remains as to why Gap appears to still be using children to crank out clothing….again.
“Exposed by an undercover Observer investigation in the back streets of New Delhi, reveal a tragic consequence of the West’s demand for cheap clothing. It exposes how, despite Gap’s rigorous social audit systems launched in 2004 to weed out child labour in its production processes, the system is being abused by unscrupulous subcontractors. The result is that children, in this case working in conditions close to slavery, appear to still be making some of its clothes.”
While a Gap policy forbids children to work – if a child is found working they are to be removed, put in school, paid and guaranteed a job at reaching the legal working age. However, The Observer has found that kids are still being sold into bonded labor by their families. The kids reportedly work at least 16 hours a day. The sweatshop was discovered and Gap immediately promised to remove all clothing that may have been made by children in sweat shops and an investigation is being done. Gap’s ties to the Indian industry are cited as a possible source of the labor violation. India is estimated to be responsible for cranking out 20% off their gross national product at the hand of children aged 5 to 14.
Many celebs have lent their good name to the brand. Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker and Claire Danes have all been a part of the Gap ads. Last year Gap teamed up with U2 singer Bono to create “Product Red.” Fellow star powered celebs like Don Cheadle, Lenny Kravitz and Mary J Blige, Steven Spielberg and Penelope Cruz all lent their name to fight AIDS and poverty in third world areas. It is a possibility that the line was made by children being hidden in “sacks and in carefully concealed mezzanine floors designed to dodge raids.”
Picture note by Jaybird: Here’s Claire Danes and Patrick Wilson for Gap’s “Boyfriend Trouser” ad. Header image of Sarah Jessica Parker in the Gap “How Do You Wear It?” ad campaign.