Search

 

Cablegate: Search for Alleged Child Workers at Harvest Rich

VZCZCXRO4273
OO RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHHM RUEHJO RUEHMA
DE RUEHKA #6636 3130821
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 090821Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2602
INFO RUCNCLC/CHILD LABOR COLLECTIVE
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1362
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 9469
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 7649
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 8798
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1559
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0256
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1071
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 0038
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL CALCUTTA
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 0082
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC

UNCLAS DHAKA 006636

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB ETRD PGOV CASC BG
SUBJECT: SEARCH FOR ALLEGED CHILD WORKERS AT HARVEST RICH

REF: A. KOZLOWSKI/ADAMS EMAIL NOV 11

B. 2006

1. Summary: After a labor rights group acccused the Harvest
Rich Garment factory of using child labor, Harvest Rich
denied the allegations and produced some of the alleged child
workers, who said they are 18 or older. Visiting buyers were
unable to find any evidence of child workers, while NLC was
unable to present any of the 200 plus child workers. A labor
activist stated that the child workers were fired in October,
and the workers who now claimed to be 18 or older are at
Harvest Rich's dormitories to prevent them recanting their
claims of majority. Buyers said they had no plans to cancel
orders based on the Harvest Rich report. End summary.

2. (SBU) After the release of the National Labor Committee's
(NLC) October report on child labor at Harvest Rich, buyer
representatives from Tesco, Hanes, Marks and Spencer, and
labor standards accrediting firms arrived in Dhaka to inspect
the Harvest Rich factory in Narayanganj, 20 kilometers south
of Dhaka. According to the report, which provided photos and
descriptions of a number of alleged child workers, there were
200 to 300 child workers out of 2,500 employees at Harvest
Rich.

3. (SBU) On November 6, according to Solidarity Center Field
Representative David Welsh, a group claiming to represent
workers at Harvest Rich presented the alleged child workers
to the buyer representatives. According to Welsh, the
alleged child workers said that they were not minors but were
18 or older, and provided medical examination certificates
attesting to their age.

4. (SBU) Stephen A. Jesseph, President of the international
labor standards accreditation firm, Worldwide Responsible
Apparel Production (WRAP), which accredited Harvest Rich as
compliant with responsible labor standards, told laboff that
that the presented workers said that NLC's Charles Kernaghan
had promised them visits to the United States in exchange for
their statements that they were child workers. Welsh told
laboff that he had a private meeting with Kernaghan, who was
not able to bring any of the alleged 200 child workers with
him. Welsh added that whether there really were child
workers is "somewhat murky."

5. (SBU) On November 7 and 8, the buyers representatives met
with factory management and toured the factory. Jesseph told
laboff that if there were 200 child workers there, and that
if they hid from his inspectors during their inspections,
there are no bathrooms or rooftops large enough to hide them
all. He said that WRAP's auditors will be reviewing
employment records to determine the employment history of the
seven workers presented in the NLC report and to review the
employment applications of possible other child workers.

6. (SBU) Labor organizer Kalpona Akter, who assisted in the
NLC study, told Jesseph and laboff that the 200 plus missing
child workers were all fired in October. She added that the
alleged child workers presented to the buyer representatives
were all detained at the Harvest Rich dormitories and not at
the factory. She insisted that Harvest Rich pressured the
workers to say they were 18 and older and keeps them at the
dormitory to prevent close examination by the buyers.

7. (SBU) As of November 9, many of the buyer representatives
continued to inspect the Harvest Rich factory, question
management, and survey other suppliers. Welsh told laboff
that all of the representatives said that they do not plan to
cancel their orders at Harvest Rich based on the NLC report.
BUTENIS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN News: UN Strongly Condemns Knife Attack Inside Nice Church Which Left Three Dead

The UN Secretary-General on Thursday strongly condemned a knife attack inside a French church in the southern French city of Nice, which reportedly left three worshippers dead. In a statement released by his Spokesperson, António Guterres extended his ... More>>

ALRANZ: Denounces US Senate Confirmation Of Judge Barrett

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa denounces the US Senate’s confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court seat formerly held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. “This action demonstrates the rank hypocrisy of the once-respected upper chamber ... More>>

UN News: Millions Affected As Devastating Typhoon Strikes Viet Nam

A major typhoon has struck central Viet Nam, affecting millions of people – including about 2.5 million children – in a region already reeling from the effects of severe floods, according to UN agencies in the country. There are also reports that 174 ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>