Why are we boycotting cotton from Uzbekistan?

Click here to read our full coverage of Uzbekistan’s forced labor and reasons behind the boycott 

Every year since 1989, the Government of Uzbekistan, one of the world’s largest exporters of cotton, forces over 1 million of Uzbek citizens to leave their regular jobs and go to the fields to pick cotton for weeks in arduous and hazardous conditions. Many people have died almost every year in fields from extreme heat and accidents, including children who are also forced to work. According to several human rights organizations, slavery-like practices are used in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields.

The forced labor system orchestrated by the government of Uzbekistan violates human rights, holds Uzbek citizens as modern slaves, and condemns future generations to a cycle of poverty. Only the high officials of the corrupt regime in place for more than 30 years, profits from the forced labor and the massive exports of cotton. We join Uzbek citizens in supporting the Call to Boycott Uzbek Textile organized by the victims of governmental persecution.

Our commitment against forced labor in Uzbekistan

We endorse the Responsible Sourcing Network coalition against forced labor in Uzbekistan:

We are working to ensure that forced labor does not find its way into our products. We are collaborating with a multi-stakeholder coalition to raise awareness of this very serious concern, and press for its elimination.

As a signatory to this pledge, we are stating our firm opposition to the use of forced labor in the harvest of Uzbek cotton. We commit to not source Uzbek cotton for the manufacturing of any of our products until the Government of Uzbekistan ends the practice of forced labor in its cotton sector.

The vast majority of the cotton used by our manufacturers is produced in the United States. Notwithstanding this fact, our supplier requires all business partners to confirm, by means of a signed statement, that they do not use or procure any cotton fiber originating from Uzbekistan. Our imported t-shirts manufacturers established a cotton traceability assessment for its cotton yarn suppliers in order to ensure that the cotton, yarn or products they supplied did not contain cotton originating from Uzbekistan.

 

Our t-shirts are made of cotton ethically produced in the United States

The cotton used by our manufacturers is grown in the United States, including even for our standard t-shirts and imported products. US cotton farmers are required to adhere to strict US labor laws and regulations. These regulations are most likely some of the most stringent in the cotton growing industry globally. They provide workers with ethical workplaces and because cotton is regulated as a food crop, workplace health and safety conditions mirror those of the vast majority of the foods we find on our tables.

Click here to learn more about our US cotton.

 


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Posted on: September 21, 2017 Last update: January 21, 2019