Ever since 2002, the US Department of Labor has issued a list of products, by country of origin, that it has determined may be mined, produced or manufactured by forced or indentured child labor. By law, federal contractors who supply products on this “Executive Order 13126” list must certify that they have made a good faith effort to determine whether child labor was used to produce the items.
The current list, updated last month, is available here. It includes a variety of items, such as bamboo, beans and bricks from Burma, toys and cotton from China and cocoa from Nigeria (to name just a few) –many of which have been on the list repeatedly. This year’s list also names India as a country that uses child labor in garment manufacturing, and that has confirmed Indian apparel exporters’ “worst fears,” according to The Economic Times.
The US accounts for 30 percent of India’s apparel exports, estimated at some $10 billion, and as the article reports, appearing on the list poses huge reputation risk to a country that supplies garments to retail giants such as Walmart, GAP, H&M, Diesel, M&S and Levi’s, all of which say their working to abolish child labor.
India’s Apparel Export Promotion Council maintains that the US DOL is relying on outdated and inaccurate information, and that the Indian garment industry should not be included in the list. According to The Economic Times report, officials from the AEPC will be meeting in Washington later this month to clarify India’s position and perhaps head-off its inclusion on the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act list (which also recognizes child labor in the garment industry) due out this fall.
You can view the final list, frequently asked questions, procedural guidelines and procurement compliance information for EO 13126 here.