Gap's action against Delhi contractor on alleged use of child Labour

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Washington, Nov 1 (UNI) Gap Inc, a San Francisco-based multinational apparel giant, has taken action against its contractor in New Delhi immediately after the publication of reports that he employed children.

''As soon as we were alerted to this situation, we stopped the work order and prevented the product from being sold in stores,'' Gap North America President Marka Hans said in a statement.

''We strictly prohibit the use of child labor. This is a non-negotiable for us and we are deeply concerned and upset by this allegation. As we've demonstrated in the past, Gap has a history of addressing challenges like this head-on, and our approach to this situation will be no exception,'' Mr Hansen said.

''In 2006, Gap Inc. ceased business with 23 factories due to code violations. We have 90 people located around the world whose job is to ensure compliance with our Code of Vendor Conduct,'' he added.

The statement followed revelations in a British newspaper, The Observer, that quoted child workers' accounts of being sold by their parents, forced to work 16-hour a day without pay and being beaten.

Children as young as 10-years-old were held in conditions of abject slavery.

Although bonded child labour is illegal in India, the practice is still widespread. The US Department of Labour 2006 international child labour report states that approximately 4.1 per cent of boys and 4.0 per cent of girls ages 5 to 14 are forced to work in India.

Most work in agriculture, but children are employed in many other, often hazardous, industries.

UNI

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