EU cotton: made by children in Uzbekistan


Dear Friend,

The start of the school year normally means nervous excitement, but for children in Uzbekistan it’s a feeling of fear as hundreds of thousands are forced from their schools to pick cotton in life-threatening conditions.

Schools are closed down for the three-month cotton harvest and children, some as young as nine, are forced to pick cotton by hand. Students who fail to meet their targets or refuse to work are beaten or can face expulsion from school.

And the single biggest destination for this Uzbek cotton? The European market.

Gemma Wolfes from Anti-Slavery International set up a petition on calling for the European Union to end the trade preferences on Uzbek cotton imports. This week, a group of school children from Eastbourne will be presenting the petition to the European Parliament in Brussels.

Click here to add your name to the campaign and join them in speaking out against child labour.

Uzbekistan is the third largest exporter of cotton worldwide — almost half of that cotton is picked by state-sponsored forced child labour. Children suffer appalling conditions during the cotton harvest. Many contract hepatitis from insanitary conditions and there have even been reports of police throwing stones at children who weren’t picking cotton because they were sick.

Thanks to public pressure from human rights organisations, several UK retailers including Tesco and Marks & Spencer have already taken action to ban Uzbek cotton from their products — but the European Union has failed to take action on the issue.

Thousands of signatures from across Europe will show the EU that citizens do not want cotton produced by forced child labour. Please add your name to the “Cotton Crimes” petition and call on the President of the European Parliament to end trade preferences on Uzbek cotton imports and stop child slavery now:

Thanks for being part of this,
– Brie and the team

P.S. Thousands of people are changing the world through petitions on every week. Here are some petitions started by people in the UK that need your support now:

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