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H&M Cotton Picked by Child Labour

Swedish clothing chain H&M's garments are woven from cotton picked by child labour, reports Agenda, a current affairs programme on the Swedish television channel SVT.

According to the programme, H&M uses cotton picked by Uzbek children, although the company says it opposes the use of child labour.

Human rights organisations say nearly half a million children are forced into cotton fields during harvest time. The youngest workers are under seven years old. Most of the cotton collected by children is sold to European textile companies.

The current affairs programme reports that H&M's subcontractors in Bangladesh purchase the cotton directly from Uzbekistan. As Uzbek cotton is often mixed in with other cotton, it is difficult to estimate the total use of Uzbek cotton.

The Swedish textile company Borås Wäfveri also uses Uzbek cotton, but now says it will stop importing it. Borås Wäfveri manufactures clothing at the Krenholm factory in Estonia for many shop chains in Sweden. The company's managing director Sven-Olof Kulldorff told Agenda that the Krenholm factory also manufactures products for Finnish Marimekko.

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