Many of the clothing we love we know are not made in this country and while there are some major brands that do try their best to treat and pay their foreign laborers fairly, there are others like Gap, Forever 21 and now Victoria’s Secret who carelessly let things like child labor slip through their profitable cracks.
In the latest scandal, Bloomberg Markets is reporting that Victoria’s Secret has been exposed as using child labor in Burkina Faso to produce its cotton. The magazine actually sent reporters out to the fields in the West African country to see for themselves how the daily abuse of children results in the “fair trade” fabric used in the brand’s lingerie. Although Victoria’s Secret struck a deal back in 2007 to buy cotton “fair trade” from Burkina Faso that would benefit the lives of the female farmers and their children, what Bloomberg Markets found was quite the opposite. The magazine writes about one 13-year-old girl in particular named Clarisse Kambire, who has been physically abused, denied food and forced to toil under the direction of a farmer to produce the cotton, which is sent to Sri Lankan and Indian factories to be transformed into Victoria’s Secret products.
Of course, Victoria’s Secret claims to have known nothing about the child labor issue and released this statement through Tammy Roberts Myers, Vice President of External Communications for Limited Brands Inc., which owns the lingerie chain:
“[The child-labor allegations] describe behavior contrary to our company’s values and the code of labor and sourcing standards we require all of our suppliers to meet. Our standards specifically prohibit child labor. We are vigorously engaging with stakeholders to fully investigate this matter.”
In the meantime, it’s business as usual for Victoria Secret as the holidays fast approach and women shop for their sexy festive panty and bra sets. It’s also still business as usual for little Clarisse as she works her fingers to the bone to help make them.