The government of Uzbekistan continues to remove millions of children across the country from school and force them to pick cotton during the harvest season. While over 70 of the world’s largest apparel brands and retailers have developed policies related to Uzbek cotton, Toys R Us, one of the biggest children’s toy and clothing retailers in the country has remained silent. While Toys R Us states that it “does not knowingly engage in business with vendors, suppliers, or manufacturers who are in violation of… laws affecting labor usage, civil rights, child labor, and safety,” this company has not publicly addressed the unique state-sponsored practice of forced child labor in Uzbekistan nor has it provided any information about how it ensures that its suppliers do not use Uzbek cotton tainted by these egregious human rights abuses. So far, Toys R Us, which also owns Babies R Us and FAO Schwarz among other brands, has refused to support human rights and speak out against forced child labor in the cotton industry, unlike its top competitors like Carters, the Children’s Place, the Gap and Gymboree.
Your actions make a difference! In the past, your e-mail actions targeting Abercrombie & Fitch, Gymboree, Carter’s and the Children’s Place have led these companies to announce policies prohibiting the use of Uzbek cotton. Take action NOW to tell Toys R Us to respect international labor rights in their cotton sourcing.
Photo credit: The Wasted Smile