Child Slave Labor and Gap: Not a Good Mix!
by Alyssa Brett
It has come to our attention that Gap Inc. was accused of using child labor in sweatshops to make the clothes. The president of Gap Inc. had no idea that this was even happening, it was never brought to their attention. President Marka Hansen says that she feels violated, upset, and angry with the vendor and the subcontractor who made this unwise decision to have children work in sweatshops. "One of our vendors did obviously, in subcontracting the product, did not ensure that this product was not going to be made with child labor," said Dan Henkle, Gap's senior vice president for "social responsibility." These children are from India, “the child labor capital of the world”. A British Newspaper Reporter “quoted the children as saying they had been sold to the sweatshop by their families in Indian states such as Bihar and West Bengal and would not be allowed to leave until they had repaid that fee”.
It’s very often that you can not see the terrible conditions that these children have to go through because it usually takes place in a small room. Ten to fifteen children are put into one room at the same time, they work to long hours and the only food they receive is a small helping and is covered in flies. If a child has not done the job right they will either be hit, yelled at, of have their food taken away from them. A twelve year old boy told a CNN reporter that if any of the children cried they would be hit with a rubber pipe or punished with an oily cloth stuffed in their mouths. These kids were discovered in the dark alleys of New Delhi, hired by subcontractors, without the knowledge of Gap corporate executives. The factories had children as young as ten years old working for them. They would work for 23 hour shifts. If the workers do not finish their jobs they can not leave until it is completed. When they do get to leave it’s for two hours and they must come right back. These children can not even live like normal children for example they must choose between school and work and most of them choose work so they can help support their families. This is absurd because a ten year old should not have to support their families by working in such harsh conditions. The men in charge take full advantage of the women and girls that work in this factory; they use these girls for their own personal pleasure. It is required for the girls to take birth control pills to make certain they will not get pregnant because if they do become pregnant they are have to leave the factory. The men in charge don’t want to lose people and the women don’t want to lose their jobs. Most women there have been working since there they were ten or eleven years old and are now sixteen and have not finished elementary school. One girl is sixteen and has one more year left to finish elementary school but she can’t because she has to work.
These conditions are absolutely insane and completely ridiculous, they are children! They should be able to grow up in a good environment surrounded by people who love and care for them. Under the current policy, when child employees are discovered, the contractor that hired those children is not only supposed to take them out of the workplace, but also give them money, access to school, and a promise that they can come back to the job when they're old enough. But that policy apparently isn't working. And as such, Gap will be pulling tens of thousands of items from store shelves later this year rather than look unethical by selling clothes made by the hands of abused, starving children. “Today, while Gap Inc. continues its own investigation, it has already ensured that the garments made by the children from Bihar will never be sold in its stores. The order has been pulled, and the clothes destroyed”