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Last Updated: Monday October 29 2007 15:22 GMT

Gap won't sell 'child labour top'

A Gap shop

Clothes company Gap says it won't sell a blouse from its latest kids range after claims it was made by children.

An investigation by British newspaper The Observer found that kids as young as 10 were being put to work in factories in India to make things.

Gap said it was shocked by the reports as it had a strict ban on kids being used to make anything for them.

It's now investigating how children ended up working in factories that were making some of its products.

The company said the item the children had been making - a smock blouse - was being destroyed and would not go on sale in any of its 3,000 stores around the world.

Gap spokesman, Dan Henkle said: "We were made aware earlier this week that a reporter had found an incident of children working in a factory that was producing for one of our brands, and this is completely unacceptable to us.

"We are taking this very seriously. This is very upsetting and we intend to investigate thoroughly."

The company has also called an emergency meeting with its suppliers in the region.

Against the law

It is illegal for children younger than 14 to work in India, but the law is often broken.

And because it is against the law, the children that are put to work have almost no protection and are kept in very poor conditions.

One boy told the Observer he had been sold to a factory owner by his family.

He said he'd been working for four months without pay and would not be allowed to leave the job until he worked long enough to repay the fee his family was given for him.

Treated fairly

Big companies often use firms in poorer countries to make stuff for them as it can be much cheaper, even when they include the costs of transporting the finished goods.

But it's often hard to check that children aren't being used to make them and that all the people working in the factories are being treated fairly.

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