Gallery: Fairtrade International Debunks Claims of Abuse in Victoria’s Sec...

Victoria's Secret, Fairtrade International, Bloomberg News, fair-trade cotton, organic cotton, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style

Bloomberg News’ exposé on the so-called fair-trade cotton used by Victoria’s Secret is being called into question by Fairtrade International, the nonprofit organization that develops and upholds fair-trade standards, particularly when it comes to certifying producers and facilitating relationships with buyers. In a heartbreaking account in December, reporter Cam Simpson detailed the abuses Clarisse Kambire and other child laborers faced toiling in the cotton fields of Burkina Faso in West Africa, despite programs designed to improve the lives of women through responsible sourcing. “Paying lucrative premiums for organic and fair-trade cotton has—perversely—created fresh incentives for exploitation,” Simpson wrote. The blame, he intimated, lay with Fairtrade International for not keeping a more guarded eye. After conducting its own investigation, however, the group fired back on Tuesday with a list of “substantial contradictions” to the facts presented in the article, chief of which was that Kambire was not 13 as previously reported but 18 or older—by no means a child as defined by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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