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Last Updated: Friday, 16 November 2007, 19:45 GMT
Gap acts over Indian child labour
Gap customer with bag
Gap says it must do more to eradicate child labour
Retailer Gap has pledged to "do more" to eradicate child labour after it emerged one of its Indian suppliers had been employing children as young as 10.

The US firm will donate $200,000 to improve factory conditions in India as well as tighten up its own procedures.

Gap withdrew an order from sale after it was sub-contracted to a firm which used children to embroider the product.

The children involved will be paid until they reach working age, Gap insisted, and then offered jobs.

'Unauthorized facility'

The allegations that child labour was being used to produce a girl's smock blouse in a Delhi sweatshop were first reported by The Observer newspaper.

It revealed that some children were working up to 16 hours a day on items carrying Gap labels and barcodes.

An internal Gap investigation confirmed the work had been sub-contracted, without the firm's knowledge or agreement, to an "unauthorized facility".

We are incredibly proud of the real progress we have made over the past decade to improve working conditions in factories that make our products
Marka Hansen, Gap

Gap has now suspended half its orders from its original contractor and put the firm on "probation" for the next six months.

It said it had acted "decisively" once the situation had come to light.

"We are incredibly proud of the real progress we have made over the past decade to improve working conditions in factories that make our products," Marka Hansen, president of the firm's North American division.

"That makes this recent news all the more disappointing."

Procedures

According to the International Herald Tribune, the 14 children police removed from the Delhi workshop under investigation are now being cared for at a local children's home.

Gap said it thoroughly audited factories which make its clothing and in 2006 had revoked the licences of 23 factories which failed to comply with its standards.

But charities said Gap had a responsibility to monitor its entire supply chain to ensure proper working practices were being upheld.

The International Labour Organisation's most recent research suggested there are more than 215 million child workers around the world, more than half of these in Asia.



SEE ALSO
India child garment workers found
01 Nov 07 |  South Asia
Child labour and the High Street
30 Oct 07 |  Newsnight
Gap pulls 'child labour' clothing
28 Oct 07 |  South Asia

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