Victoria's real secret: child labour in Burkina Faso

Victoria's real secret: child labour in Burkina Faso

Victoria's Secret has been in the centre of a storm of criticism since Bloomberg reported about its involvement in child labour in Burkina Faso. The luxury lingerie brand has some of its fair trade cotton picked by children, as the news agency reported. Parent company Limited Brands is “concerned” and promises to “fully investigate this matter”.

The story of 13-year-old Clarisse

Victoria's Secret angelsBloomberg news has sent one of its reporters to Burkina Faso, which resulted in a documentary about 13-year-old Clarisse Kambire. Cam Simpson interviewed the girl, her family, neighbours and village leaders. Their stories were confirmed by other children, who had to work in the same degrading circumstances of being beaten, malnourished and kept out of school.

 

According to the documentary, there is a lack of control of working circumstances and local cotton farmers need to be educated more. Furthermore, the rights of “enfants confiés”, as children vulnerable to exploitation are called in Western Africa, are almost always overlooked.

'Fair trade' and organic

”If this allegation is true, it describes behavior that is contrary to our company’s values and the code of labor and sourcing standards that we require all of our suppliers to meet. These standards expressly prohibit child labor”, says Limited Brands in an official statement on its website. The company promises “to take swift action to prevent the illegal use of child labor in the fields where we source Fairtrade-certified organic cotton in Burkina Faso.”

 

"Clarisse’s labor exposes flaws in the system for certifying fair-trade commodities and finished goods in a global market that grew 27 percent in just one year to more than $5.8 billion in 2010. That market is built on the notion that purchases by companies and consumers aren’t supposed to make them accomplices to exploitation, especially of children”, as Bloomberg rightly points out.

 

Fairtrade International says not to have had any knowledge of this situation and promises to fully screen its activities in Burkina Faso. The organisation also promises to start education programmes for local farmers.

Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact the editors


Amazon buys supermarket chain Whole Foods Market

16/06/2017

Amazon dealt a serious blow to Ahold Delhaize and Walmart: it acquired supermarket chain Whole Foods Market, its giant introduction to physical food retail. AD’s share was in freefall after the announcement, down 10 % after only an hour.

Nestlé puts American candy division up for sale

16/06/2017

Swiss food group Nestlé is looking at several strategic options for its American candy division, including a possible sale. It should reach a decision by the end of the year.

AB InBev: “The beer market has drastically changed”

16/06/2017

“The beer market has never been as interesting as it is now”, AB InBev’s sales director off-trade Benoit Bronckart said. There is a positive vibe in the beer industry and the brewer has embraced diversity more than ever.

Good deal for Inex in South Korea

15/06/2017

Belgian dairy manufacturer Inex, known for its milk cartons at school, is targeting Asian growth. It signed a deal to ship 800 million tons of cream during its South Korean trade mission.

EU bans "soy milk" and "tofu butter"

15/06/2017

Can a manufacturer of organic alternatives call its products “soy milk” or “tofu butter”? The European Court of Justice confirms it cannot, because the European Union has strict legislation about what can be called milk, cream, butter, cheese and yoghurt.

Gigantic task awaits Bompard at Carrefour

12/06/2017

Alexandre Bompard will need to perform another gargantuan task at department store group Carrefour. After he managed to get Fnac back on track, he will need to do the same for Carrefour.

Back to top