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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 October 2006, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Bangladesh 'child labour' probe
By Waliur Rahman
BBC News, Dhaka

Women garment workers in Dhaka
Bangladeshi garments are a key industry
Garment makers in Bangladesh say they are investigating allegations by Britain's Channel 4 television that the industry is still using child labour.

Channel 4 said it secretly filmed children as young as 12 working at four factories that supply clothes to UK supermarket giant Tesco.

A garment industry spokesman said teams were in the process of visiting the factories in question.

Tesco says its own inquiry found no evidence that children were working.

It told Channel 4 News that it abhorred the use of child labour. The factory owners themselves have not commented.

Report due

The head of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Fazlul Haque, said the allegations were surprising.

He pointed out that the textile industry in Bangladesh had been declared child labour free in 1994, when the manufacturers, the government and the UN agreed that children under 14 should not be employed in such factories.

"We have taken the allegations very seriously and ordered investigations. We are expecting a report from the investigators on Thursday," he told the BBC.

He said the buyers often visit the supplying factories to make sure that they fulfil all conditions.

He said the factories only hire workers after doctors verify their age.

The allegations made by Channel 4 are the latest blow to a textile industry that has already been hit hard by workers' unrest over pay rises.

On Tuesday, dozens of factories were ransacked by workers demanding better pay.




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