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Gap Announces Post-Scandal "Reforms"

Gap Announces Post-Scandal "Reforms"

The vendor that was caught forcing this child to work 16-hour days with no pay will be placed on probation.

November 19, 2007 —

Less than a month after it was revealed that some of its clothing was made by children in India, Gap has announced its plan to prevent such embarrassments from occurring in the future. In addition to compensating the children who were rescued from its sweatshop, the company will spend $200,000 to improve working conditions and "update its inspection procedures." Gap will also hold an international conference next year to work on solving problems associated with child labor.

Unless that conference produces some real industrywide results, it would appear that Gap is about to get off scott-free from one of biggest child labor scandals in years. Rather than sitting back and passively reporting on this cop out, the question that all journalists covering this story should be asking here is "Are you Serious?" Just three weeks ago, Gap seemed genuinely committed to not only ending child labor in its own factories, but also making gains that would ripple throughout the garment industry. The company proposed a new labeling system that would have held clothing companies legally accountable for claiming—as Gap had for years before this scandal broke—that its products are produced without child labor.

If the media drops the ball here, the responsibility of making sure Gap doesn't wriggle out of this falls squarely upon consumers. Unless Gap and its competitors commit to some serious reforms in the wake of this scandal, efforts to ensure basic human rights for garment workers will suffer a major defeat.

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