Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores has instructed its global-supply base to cease sourcing cotton and cotton materials from Uzbekistan in an effort to persuade the Uzbek government to end the use of forced child labor in cotton harvesting. This action follows months of work with industry trade associations, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and socially responsible investment groups to form a common position in condemning the Uzbek government's practices.
"We have formed an unprecedented coalition, representing 90% of the U.S. purchases of cotton and cotton-based merchandise, to bring these appalling child-labor conditions to an end," said Rajan Kamalanathan, VP of ethical standards, Wal-Mart. "There is no tolerance for forced child labor in the Wal-Mart supply chain."