BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Programmes: Panorama: Archive  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Archive Monday, 21 May, 2001, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
Gap and Nike: No Sweat?
Gap and Nike: No Sweat?, Sunday October 15 2000

Programme update - 21 May 2001

Paul Kenyon writes:

I have recently been to visit one of the young factory workers involved in our filming at the Nike/Gap factory that we filmed in Phnom Penh.

Sun Thyda is still working for the factory, and she reports that the other two girls are as well. That is, in one sense, good news. Some believed that by taking part in the programme, the girls were risking being sacked and even ending up as prostitutes. That has not happened.

However, we did have a pledge from Nike that any underage workers would be sent to school, and would then be free to return to the factory once they'd reached working age. This has not happened.

The reason appears to be that neither the factory June Textiles, nor Nike, are convinced the girls really are underage. Sun Thyda is also still claiming to be older so she can continue to work.

Nike logo
Nike are not convince that the girls featured in the programme are underage
Panorama still stands by its findings, which involved travelling to the girls' home villages and checking their ages in "family books". In the absence of birth certificates, we believe this is the best way of authenticating a child's age.

But, so long as Nike say they can't be certain, it seems they will not be bound by the pledge they made. I can't see any way round this impasse.

It seems that Nike has also pulled out of the factory, pending the result of its enquiries into our programme. This information may not be correct, as I did not make contact with the factory itself during my visit. I have written to Nike to seek confirmation, but they have not responded as yet.

It seems the Gap has also pulled out at this time.

However, this seems to have had little impact on the output of the factory itself. We could find no evidence that workers had been laid off.

Before we embarked on this programme, we had been warned of the potential knock-on effects; children being sacked, Nike and the Gap cancelling contracts, or even pulling out of Cambodia altogether depriving the economy of much-needed investment.

Unfortunately, some, though not all, of these threatened consequences did materialise. This is obviously distressing, but it is not a reason to be held to ransom by big multi-nationals making use of child labour in developing countries.

If journalists, and others, are not prepared to expose such practices, the use of children in manufacturing products for the West will continue, and perhaps worsen. At the moment we are effectively relying on these companies to self-regulate.

Although there has clearly been progress in the area of workers rights, it is up to pressure groups, and journalists to check that the apparently strict codes of conduct of some of these companies are being adhered to. This programme was one small attempt to do that.

Links to more Archive stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Archive stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes