Press Releases

For media inquiries please contact Rachel Cohen: racohen78 [at]

Statement from the Cotton Campaign on the Start of the Cotton Harvest in Uzbekistan

Today the Government of Uzbekistan declared the start of the annual cotton harvest. To meet the government’s national quota officials are again this year forcing farmers to fulfill state-established production quotas and forcing children and adults to pick cotton under threat of punishment. Income from Uzbek cotton sales will again disappear into the extra-budgetary Agriculture Fund, to which not even the Uzbek parliament has access. This is modern-day slavery that only the Uzbek government can end by finding the political will to do so. 

Case Against Labour Rights Defender Draws International Outcry

Nearly 100 international rights groups demand industry action

UPDATE: On August 13th, the State Enterprises Workers’ Relations Confederation (SERC), a Thai union and ILRF ally that had signed this letter, received a response from TPIA that indicated it would not intervene in the court case against Andy Hall, accused Andy of intending to destroy Thailand’s economic system, and implied that companies may pursue further legal action if Andy continues “to behave in this manner.” The full text is available here:

Uzbekistan: US Decision Aids Forced Labor Victims

“Tier 3” Status in Trafficking Report Could Bring Sanctions

The United States government’s decision to place Uzbekistan in the lowest category of its annual human trafficking report sends a message of solidarity to the well over a million Uzbeks forced to pick the country’s cotton crop, the Cotton Campaign said today.

The ranking is based on Uzbekistan’s massive use of forced labor of children and adults to pick the country’s annual cotton crop.  The Cotton Campaign is a coalition of human rights, labor, investor and business organizations, including human rights groups from Uzbekistan.

State Department Rebukes Thailand Over Anti-Trafficking Efforts

Thailand falls to lowest ranking in Annual Trafficking in Persons Report

The International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) welcomes the U.S. State Department’s decision to downgrade Thailand to Tier 3 in the 2014 Global Trafficking in Persons Report. Thailand has clearly demonstrated it is not in compliance with the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, particularly with regard to its treatment of migrant workers.

Global Brands Should Push Change in Thai Seafood Industry

Solving human trafficking problem requires commitments from companies for transparency and accountability

The International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) is calling for significant changes to the way Western companies source seafood from Thailand in the wake of an investigative report by the Guardian. The article linked shrimp sold by well-known retailers to forced labor and human trafficking on Thai fishing vessels via a shrimp supplier called CP Foods.

World Bank Approves Problematic Uzbekistan Projects

The World Bank must take extraordinary measures to ensure it does not contribute to human rights violations in Uzbekistan

After a two-day delay, the World Bank has approved agriculture and education projects in Uzbekistan, despite concerns raised that such investments risk perpetuating the state-sponsored system of forced labor. Under this system, the Uzbek government coercively mobilizes more than a million Uzbek citizens annually to produce cotton, including farmers, students and school staff.

Forced Labor Warning Issued for Indorama Corporation

Rights group warns Indonesian-based textile company uses cotton made with forced labor

ILRF today issued a warning to companies and consumers that Indorama Corporation is currently under investigation for violations of U.S. law related to its operations in Uzbekistan. The investigation included the U.S. Customs preventing a shipment of yarn produced in Uzbekistan by Indorama from entering the port of Los Angeles in October 2013. The U.S. government has listed cotton from Uzbekistan as a prohibited good made by forced child labor since 2009.

Walmart Urged to Pay Up to Victims of Fire and Building Collapse

105,000 Sign Petition Calling on Walmart to Pay Compensation and Join Bangladesh Accord; Kalpona Akter Sends Public Video Message to Walmart

This morning, as Walmart shareholders gather for the company’s annual meeting, Kalpona Akter, Executive Director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, sent a public video message to Walmart urging the company to pay a total of $17 million to the victims of the April 24, 2013, Rana Plaza building collapse – the deadliest disaster in the history of the global garment industry.

Protest at Children's Place Shareholder Meeting Raises Workers' Concerns

Campaigners Call on The Children’s Place to Pay Compensation to Rana Plaza Victims and Sign Bangladesh Accord

As people arrived for The Children’s Place’s annual shareholder meeting this morning, they were greeted with a sobering reminder of the death toll resulting from the company’s failure to properly monitor its supply chain. Members of 99 Pickets, International Labor Rights Forum, and United Students Against Sweatshops lay wrapped in white sheets in the lobby of the company’s headquarters in Secaucus, New Jersey.

“Award of Shame” Delivered to Gap at Shareholder Meeting

Campaigners Call on Gap to Sign Bangladesh Safety Accord and Pay Compensation to Factory Fire Victims

International Labor Rights Forum, Jobs with Justice San Francisco, SumOfUs, United Students Against Sweatshops and local activists delivered the Public Eye Award to Gap Inc. at its annual shareholder meeting in San Francisco this morning.  In front of the headquarters, activists exhibited photographs of workers injured and family members who lost loved ones in garment factory disasters in Bangladesh, and leafleted employees and shareholders as they arrived for the meeting.

Joint Statement calling on brands to Pay Up!

With the first anniversary of Rana Plaza approaching leading labour rights groups and trade unions across the world have released this joint statement calling on brands to Pay Up!

We, the undersigned, welcome and support the Rana Plaza Arrangement, a  comprehensive and independent framework, consistent with international labour standards,  that will provide the much-needed support for loss of income and medical expenses to the victims, their families and dependents of the Rana Plaza building collapse. A joint approach is the only way to ensure all those who have already lost so much are compensated fully and in a predictable manner.

U.S. Military Exchanges Turn Blind Eye to Working Conditions in Bangladeshi Supplier Factories

New ILRF Report Finds U.S. Military Exchanges Outsource Social Responsibility to Private Sector and Calls on the Exchanges to Take Responsibility for Safety in their Supply Chain; Rana Plaza Survivor Brings Testimony to Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Retail operations run by the U.S. government are buying clothing from unsafe and abusive factories in Bangladesh without investigating the working conditions, according to a new report published today by Washington, DC-based International Labor Rights Forum.   In relying on factories’ own unverified claims of compliance with labor law or the audits of companies such as Walmart and Sears—audits that have persistently failed to protect workers from fires and building collapses—the exchanges are, in effect, “flying blind” the report argues.

Labor Rights Groups Condemn Violence Against Garment Workers in Cambodia

Groups call on global clothing brands to use their influence to achieve an end to repression against workers involved in wage protests and the resumption of good-faith wage negotiations.

Labour rights groups and trade unions across the world are expressing outrage at the brutal violence and repression in Cambodia following demonstrations by garment and footwear workers calling for a raise in the minimum wage.

Labor Rights Groups Call on Walmart & Children’s Place to Participate In $40 Million Compensation Plan for Rana Plaza Victims


North American labor rights groups welcomed a landmark agreement, announced today, to deliver an estimated $40 million in compensation to the families of those killed in the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh and called on Walmart, Children’s Place and other US clothing brands that produced at Rana to join the agreement within one month.

ILRF Calls on President Obama To Protect Workers' Rights at Government Suppliers

Urges federal government to require companies it does business with to sign onto the Accord on Fire and Building Safety

 The International Labor Rights Forum calls on the US government to adopt regulations to end the unsafe and illegal conditions behind federal government apparel purchases, following revelations in today’s New York Times investigative story, which links abusive working conditions in overseas sweatshops to purchasing by several US federal agencies and entities.

One Year After Tazreen Fire, the Fight for Justice Continues

Twelve months after at least 112 people lost their lives trapped in the Tazreen Fashions factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, families of the decased and survivors are still waiting for full and fair compensation

On November 24, 2012, Tazreen Fashions, a clothing factory on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, supplying global clothing brands was engulfed in flames. 

One year after the fire, Clean Clothes Campaign and International Labor Rights Forum are still calling for immediate and urgent action by all brands associated with the Tazreen Fashions factory to:

American Eagle Joins Bangladesh Safety Accord


Following the recent tragedies in Bangladesh’s garment factories where more than a thousand workers were killed, labor groups urged the clothing retailer American Eagle Outfitters to sign on to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. UNITE HERE, the labor union representing textile and hospitality workers throughout North America, collected approximately 12,000 petitions and distributed handbills at 40 American Eagle stores over the past month in an effort to urge American Eagle to join the Accord.

Labor Rights Watchdogs Call Walmart/Gap Plan a Sham

Fault Retailers for Refusal to Join Binding Agreement Signed by Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Sean John, Abercrombie & Fitch Plus 60 European Firms. Voluntary Approach Has Failed for Three Decades Costing Thousands of Lives.

Walmart and Gap, two corporations whose failure to protect worker safety has led to numerous worker deaths in Bangladesh, today announced a corporate-run factory auditing scheme, another in the long series of ineffective corporate auditing programs that these companies have touted for years. Walmart and Gap – joined by many, but not all, US brands and retailers – have refused to sign the binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, an enforceable worker safety program with more than seventy company signatories from more than fifteen countries.