The Gap has pledged $200,000 to to improve working conditions in India, where only some forms of child labor are outlawed, and it also promised to tighten its own standards. The retailer canceled half of its orders with the vendor in India that was responsible for subcontracting the workshop in which children who had been sold to the factory were working off the debt by embroidering clothing for Gap Kids.
NPR talks with Amelia Gentleman, the New Delhi bureau chief for the International Herald Tribune. She’s visited illegal embroidery workshops where children put in 16 hour days sewing sequins onto clothing and are paid about $2.50 a day. She says that even though the story got a lot of media coverage, there hasn’t been much of a push to close the workshops down.
“There are so many of these workshops in the streets of central Delhi, just freely visible, and in the immediate aftermath of this Observer expose, which was very heavily reported here, there didn’t seem to be any large scale police action to try and shut these workshops down.”
She says that some companies, like IKEA, get it right. IKEA not only inspects factories, but also farms where cotton for its textiles are grown.