Embargoed until 11-25-09
Contact: Kilian Moote, Press[at]free2work.org, Tel: 415-307-1498
San Francisco, CA, and Washington, DC – The iPhone, Camp Rock, Zhu Zhu hamsters and over a dozen other popular holiday gifts are graded “A” to “F” for their performance on preventing forced labor and child labor from being used in their manufacturing process. The newly enhanced Free2Work website (www.Free2Work.org) offers consumers information about which major brands are addressing severe labor rights abuses. Free2Work is the result of a partnership between the Not For Sale Campaign (NFSC) and the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF).
“Forced and child labor have been found in numerous industries from Christmas lights to cosmetics to chocolate,” said Bama Athreya, Executive Director of the International Labor Rights Forum. “Consumers want to know the real cost of their holiday bargains and Free2Work will provide information to them and to companies making products.” The International Labor Organization estimates that 211 million children are working in exploitative conditions around the world.
“We are linked to workers around the world by international supply chains and it is time to break the cycle of profit that keeps them in forced labor conditions,” says David Batstone, President of the Not For Sale Campaign. “The good news is that an increasing number of companies are engaged in the process of making sure that their supply chains are responsible.”
Consumers can support the campaign by buying from responsible companies and making others aware of what companies are doing on forced labor. The Free2Work site is complemented by user-generated content, allowing for individuals to share media information on companies, suppliers or industries.
The scoring and assessment system rates companies’ performance based upon their transparency, due diligence in monitoring suppliers and efforts to empower workers. Just as children are rated on their performance in school, companies should be evaluated on their ability to ensure that children are not a part of their work force.
The Free2work.org rating program is a new and ongoing endeavor. Additional products will be rated during and after the Holiday season.
The Not For Sale Campaign equips and mobilizes Smart Activists to deploy innovative solutions to re-abolish slavery in their own backyards and across the globe. Together, we can end slavery in our lifetime. www.notforsalecampaign.org
International Labor Rights Forum is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. www.laborrights.org
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