Child Labor issues have come in to play when companies such as Victoria Secret manufacture goods overseas. A notable case was the Kathie Lee Gifford brand sold at Wal-Mart. The National Labor Committee directed a campaign against the brand in 1996. Since then many companies have developed compliance/monitoring programs to prevent the exploitation of children and prevent unfair labor.
Companies take several steps to ensure transparency about the conditions and the standards of labor in these factories. Some have collaborated with NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) to ensure transparency of their compliance programs and assist in implementing these programs. U.S. Organizations such as Fair Labor Association, Social Accountability International , Business for Social Responsibility, and Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production offer assistance in developing compliance programs, collaborating with members within these organizations as well as accrediting the programs.
In this instance it seems that a 2008 report was produced by the National Federation of Burkina Cotton Producers stating that thousands of children were made to work at these Cotton Farms used by VS. VS claims they never knew about this. If this is true, then VS needs to take a deeper look at their auditing/monitoring and enforcement programs. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that VS probably does have a code of conduct compliance department, most likely headed by legal. However, perhaps protocols weren’t set in place or executed properly ie working with internal and external monitors to get the proper information about what was going on at these farms.
Work this out Vicky! Perhaps read the reports assembled by your collaborators.