Gap busted for sweatshops

downtown

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The News said:
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Clothing retailer Gap Inc. has fired an Indian company accused of using child labor to make clothes, the company's president said.


The Gap's president said no garments made in a New Delhi, India, sweatshop would be sold in Gap stores.

"It's deeply, deeply disturbing to all of us," Gap President Marka Hansen said Sunday after watching a video of children at work in a New Delhi, India, sweatshop.

"I feel violated and I feel very upset and angry with our vendor and the subcontractor who made this very, very, very unwise decision," Hansen said.

Hansen blamed the alleged abuse on an unauthorized subcontractor for one of its Indian vendors and said the subcontractor's relationship with the Gap had been "terminated."

She said the garments allegedly produced by the children represented a small portion of a single order placed with the vendor and that the clothes would not be sold in stores.

"We strictly prohibit the use of child labor," Hansen said in a statement. "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."

The report first appeared Sunday in Britain's Observer newspaper. Video Watch how children worked as virtual slaves »

The Observer spoke to children as young as 10 who said they were working 16 hours a day for no pay. The paper described the workplace as a "derelict industrial unit" where the hallways were flowing with excrement from a flooded toilet.

One 10-year-old boy told the paper he was sold to the company by his parents.

"'I was bought from my parents' village in [the northern state of] Bihar and taken to New Delhi by train," The Observer quoted the boy as saying. "The men came looking for us in July. They had loudspeakers in the back of a car and told my parents that, if they sent me to work in the city, they won't have to work in the farms. My father was paid a fee for me, and I was brought down with 40 other children."

Another boy, 12, said he worked from dawn until 1 a.m. and was so tired he felt sick, according to the paper. But if any of the children cried, he told The Observer, they would be hit with a rubber pipe or punished with an oily cloth stuffed in their mouths.

The children were producing hand-stitched blouses for the Christmas market in the United States and Europe at Gap Kids stores, according to the newspaper. The blouses were to carry a price of about $40, The Observer reported.

The Gap faced criticism for similar practices in 2000, when a BBC documentary uncovered young girls producing Gap products at a Cambodian factory. But since then, Hansen said, the company has developed comprehensive policies to prevent abuse and protect workers' rights. Hansen said violations of those policies are now "extremely rare."
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She said she does not support closing any factories in India in response to the allegations because it would deprive those working in proper conditions of their income.

The Gap also operates Banana Republic and Old Navy stores. It has 3,100 stores around the world

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/10/29/gap.labor/index.html

Ouch. Shame this stuff still happens. Will this change your shopping habits?
 

Norton II

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That's pretty despicable if what those children said is true (couldn't tell much from the video). Fortunately, I never shop there anyway. Maybe I should make a special effort to avoid shopping there in the future.
 

skadistic

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Will this change your shopping habits?

No. I don't shop there anyway.

Beside my sweatshop cloths come from Vietnam or Indonesia.
 

happy_Alex

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This is an excellent example of how international capitalism exploits the weakest in society, with sickening examples of child exploitation. I saw the news report yesterday, they had an executive from GAP expressing his apparantly genuine astonishment that they're rigorous procedures regarding child labour had failed.

However it is difficulut to imagine circumstances in which exploitative and illegal labour does not enter the supply chain given that sub-contractors will always source the cheapest suppliers.
 

JerichoHill

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This headline is misleading. It wasn't GAP that was busted but a subcontractor making clothes for them. When the video was shown GAP terminated the agreement immediately.

Child labor like that is terrible, but to lay the blame on GAP isn't right either. Bureaucracy hides such things like this everywhere. That's why its good to have free press who independently figure this stuff out.
 

JerichoHill

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This is an excellent example of how international capitalism exploits the weakest in society, with sickening examples of child exploitation. I saw the news report yesterday, they had an executive from GAP expressing his apparantly genuine astonishment that they're rigorous procedures regarding child labour had failed.

First, you insinuate that the GAP exec couldn't care less. That shows bias. Secondly, this does not reflect on 'international capitalism' but on an Indian subcontracting firm who's cutting costs by committing illegal behavior.

The very fact that you laugh with assumed pride over this through the internet (while despising capitalism) is quite hypocritical, on a computer gmaing website nonetheless!

EDIT: I don't shop at the GAP. I don't waste my money on overpriced jeans.
 

downtown

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This headline is misleading. It wasn't GAP that was busted but a subcontractor making clothes for them. When the video was shown GAP terminated the agreement immediately.

Child labor like that is terrible, but to lay the blame on GAP isn't right either. Bureaucracy hides such things like this everywhere. That's why its good to have free press who independently figure this stuff out.

Yeah, I should fix that.

I've done some reading about American textile sweatshops, and this seems to be an industry issue, where the main company isn't always sure that their numerous subcontractors are following the law, and then situations like this happen. If we assume that Gap, or other textile execs aren't doing this on purpose, is there anything that can be done? I surmise that this is more of a problem with textiles than with other low-skill industries.
 

happy_Alex

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First, you insinuate that the GAP exec couldn't care less. That shows bias. Secondly, this does not reflect on 'international capitalism' but on an Indian subcontracting firm who's cutting costs by committing illegal behavior.

The very fact that you laugh with assumed pride over this through the internet (while despising capitalism) is quite hypocritical, on a computer gmaing website nonetheless!

EDIT: I don't shop at the GAP. I don't waste my money on overpriced jeans.

No I didn't, he was shocked, and my point was that the best liberal intentons of the company and its individual executives have no effect on the dehumanising nature of international capitalism.

Also, you make it sound as if this company is some kind of exception, whereas child exploition is commonplace throughout the third world, and affects all of the services and products that we consume in the west, so I wouldn't feel to smug about not shopping at GAP. What happens to surplus value added to those overpriced jeans, anyway?

Yeah, yeah, buy cheap, sell dear, even if childrens lives get mangled in the machine in the process.
 
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This headline is misleading. It wasn't GAP that was busted but a subcontractor making clothes for them. When the video was shown GAP terminated the agreement immediately.

Child labor like that is terrible, but to lay the blame on GAP isn't right either. Bureaucracy hides such things like this everywhere. That's why its good to have free press who independently figure this stuff out.

The headline is appropriate. IMO GAP is to blame.

GAP should say this is an Indian internal problem, but to say that they didn't know is just not true.
GAP: "I didn't know, this is only the the 30th time this happens in 2 years but I didn't know".
Can somebody truly believe this? Do I look like 5 to GAP?

"The Gap faced criticism for similar practices in 2000"
Now that GAP will trow some PR, hire another subcontractor and in a few years GAP will be "surprised" again by another TV station. Come on!!!

Well I didn't know that the white powder was cocaine either, they just paid me $30.000 to transport it, but 'I didn't know'. Please....
 

Merkinball

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Yeah, I have a hard time defending this. Sounds like the Clinton defense. "We didn't know, but we're gonna do everything we can to make sure it doesn't happen again!" But then it happens again, and again, and again, and they keep saying the same crap about how it's going to be corrected.

I'm sorry, but when you are in this business, and your clients are in the west, you have a moral responsibility to ensure that there is enough oversight to ensure that your subcontractors in third world countries are not using child labor. When it happens the first time, fine, understandable, learn from your mistake and get some oversight in there. Lord knows you're already making a 1000% profit on the overpriced garbage you sell at the mall, it won't hurt you to have someone on the ground in India ensuring CHILD LABOR laws aren't being broken. But no, they neglect that, take their subcontractors word. Which to me, is just waiting to get caught again, and pretending like none of its your fault and you're not negligent for it happening in any way shape or form.

This company, and these executives have a little more responsiblity than that.
 

Murky

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Given all the problems we've encountered with off shoring manufacturing jobs, wouldn't it make more sense just to move the jobs back? As American consumers become frustrated with important products wouldn't that open out a whole new market for more American made products?
 

JerichoHill

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Given all the problems we've encountered with off shoring manufacturing jobs, wouldn't it make more sense just to move the jobs back? As American consumers become frustrated with important products wouldn't that open out a whole new market for more American made products?

And pay higher prices? The american consumer won't support that!
 

Merkinball

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And pay higher prices? The american consumer won't support that!

Some won't, but there is certainly a niche to be filled in regards to American made goods.
 

Murky

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And pay higher prices? The american consumer won't support that!

What if you could figure out a manufacturing process that allowed competitive pricing but also gave you the Made in America label? It seems like it would be a good selling point. With the massive product recalls for lead-paint and other safety issues, won't a lot of Americans be reluctant to buy products made outside the USA?
 
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Yeah, I have a hard time defending this. Sounds like the Clinton defense. "We didn't know, but we're gonna do everything we can to make sure it doesn't happen again!" But then it happens again, and again, and again, and they keep saying the same crap about how it's going to be corrected.

I'm sorry, but when you are in this business, and your clients are in the west, you have a moral responsibility to ensure that there is enough oversight to ensure that your subcontractors in third world countries are not using child labor. When it happens the first time, fine, understandable, learn from your mistake and get some oversight in there. Lord knows you're already making a 1000% profit on the overpriced garbage you sell at the mall, it won't hurt you to have someone on the ground in India ensuring CHILD LABOR laws aren't being broken. But no, they neglect that, take their subcontractors word. Which to me, is just waiting to get caught again, and pretending like none of its your fault and you're not negligent for it happening in any way shape or form.

This company, and these executives have a little more responsiblity than that.

I totally agree :goodjob:
"Sounds like the Clinton defense. "We didn't know, but we're gonna do everything we can to make sure it doesn't happen again!""
Exactly, that's GAP defense, if they didn't want to run the risk of using Child Labor, they would manufacture those clothes at America or at some other place where laws are toughly applied.

Some won't, but there is certainly a niche to be filled in regards to American made goods.

I disagreee :thumbsdown:
In the end it comes down to the guy that wants to pay down his mortgage, save for his kids' college, pay for vacation etc. He wants to buy the cheapest product, leaving ideologies such as patriotism aside.

What if you could figure out a manufacturing process that allowed competitive pricing but also gave you the Made in America label? It seems like it would be a good selling point. With the massive product recalls for lead-paint and other safety issues, won't a lot of Americans be reluctant to buy products made outside the USA?
:nope:
The wage difference between the average Indian worker and the American worker is too big for it to work.

Outsourcing is here to stay and America benefits from it.
 

Murky

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:nope:
The wage difference between the average Indian worker and the American worker is too big for it to work.

Outsourcing is here to stay and America benefits from it.

If we become dependent on offshore manufacturing, won't the offshore labor eventually demand higher wages with increase demand for their labor?
 

skadistic

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If we become dependent on offshore manufacturing, won't the offshore labor eventually demand higher wages with increase demand for their labor?

In time. And at that time it will be shifted some where else. Today its SE Asia. Tomorrow its Western Africa.
 
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