Mother's Day is the second biggest day for cut flower sales in the US, but this heightened demand by US consumers puts extra pressure on the Colombian and Ecuadorian workers, most of whom are women, who are already subjected to harsh working conditions by their employers.
The International Labor Rights Fund’s (ILRF) Fairness in Flowers Campaign has found that women flower workers in these countries suffer from discrimination, sexual harassment, and health problems caused by the many toxic pesticides used on the plantations.
A report released today, “White Gold - The True Cost of Cotton” reveals the extent of environmental damage and human rights abuses caused by the cotton industry of Central Asia, mainly to supply European demand. The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) is calling on governments, retailers, buyers and consumers to refuse to buy cotton sold by Uzbekistan produced by forced labour at devastating environmental cost.
ILRF and its partners are releasing new reports on labor rights violations of sugar workers in El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Over 1500 cane cutters and sugar refinery workers were interviewed throughout these countries. The research for these reports was conducted in early 2005 and thus reflects recent and ongoing abuses of workers in the Central American sugar industry.
Major US chocolate makers, including M&M/Mars, Hershey's and others, have asked to join the US Customs Service as defendants in a human rights suit that demands the US government enforce its own trade laws prohiting the importation of goods made with child/slave labor.