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Bangladesh Garments Added to List of Goods Produced by Child Labor

Bangladesh now has another blight to banish: garments produced in the low wage nation have been cited for involving child labor.

The U.S. Department of Labor released its updated list of goods produced by child or forced labor Monday. Bangladesh was already on the list for textiles, specifically jute textiles, leather and footwear, but garments made the unfavorable roundup this year.

Cambodia’s textiles were also added to the 2014 list. Cotton produced in India made the list as well for incorporating child labor, and embellished textiles and garments in the country were cited for involving both child and forced labor.

“There’s a story behind each item on these lists — a child facing back-breaking labor without education or other opportunities for a better life or an adult trapped in a dismal job through deceit or threats,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said. “These lists raise awareness about child and forced labor. Through collective efforts we can, and must, work together to end these cycles of exploitation.”

The list, mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), includes 136 goods from 74 countries that the Labor Department’s Bureau of International Affairs has reason to believe are made by child labor or forced labor, violating international standards.

Brazilian garments are on the list for forced labor, and garments from Thailand and Vietnam are on the list for both child and forced labor. Cotton from Pakistan is also present for forced labor.

“By publishing these lists, our goal is to shed light on the plight of the estimated 168 million child laborers and 21 million forced laborers around the world, especially as they relate specifically to goods we use every day,” Deputy Undersecretary of Labor for International Affairs Carol Pier said. “Child labor and forced labor are fundamental human rights violations, and they are also bad business practices that stifle economic development. We look forward to continuing our engagement with these countries, and with stakeholders in the highlighted sectors, to help end this labor exploitation and promote inclusive economic growth.”