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In October 2007, it was reported that child workers, some as young as 10, were discovered working in an Indian textile factory in slave-like conditions to produce clothes for Gap Kids.
The children described long hours of unpaid work as well as threats and beatings. Gap Inc., regarded as a model for fair labor practices, said that it was unaware that the clothing had been improperly subcontracted to a sweatshop using child labor. Suffering a blow to its corporate image, Gap conducted an intensive investigation and severed its contracts with suppliers found in violation of its code of ethics.
Today, Gap, together with other major retailers, is proactively implementing best practices to combat forced labor in their supply chains. Until now, companies have voluntarily adopted supply chain verification and auditing policies to stop such abuses. Since such efforts have not been reported in a standardized manner, it has been difficult to compare one company's supply chain practices against another's. This will change dramatically with the implementation of the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act or SB 657 that went into effect on Jan. 1.
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