Nike profit from slavery

Sum Of Us LogoNike is refusing to join a global boycott of companies that profit from slavery.
The sportswear giant could score a huge victory for human rights — but it will only act if consumers speak out!

Last year an 18-year-old named Navruz Muyzinov was beaten to death by police in Uzbekistan. His only crime: getting sick and leaving the cotton field where he was working before he could meet his quota for picking cotton.

Sadly, Navruz’s story is not unique. Every year, more than a million men, women, and children in Uzbekistan are forced by their government to work in the state-run cotton harvest. Those who speak out or resist are routinely harassed, detained, and tortured.

The Uzbek regime can only get away with these crimes because a South Korean conglomerate called Daewoo International continues to buy slave-grown Uzbek cotton. Uzbek dissidents and human rights activists around the world have called on apparel companies to boycott Daewoo as long as it profits from slavery. Many retailers have agreed — but Nike has refused.

Tell Nike: Stop doing business with companies that profit from slavery.

This isn’t the first time we’ve targeted big apparel brands that turn a blind eye to forced labor in the Uzbek cotton industry. Earlier this year, more than 70,000 members called on H&M to cut ties with Daewoo, and the company agreed, implementing a rule that prevented its suppliers from doing business with Daewoo.

Our friends at the International Labor Rights Forum tell us that Daewoo is already panicking about the rising global outcry over its dealings in Uzbekistan. If we can get another high-profile company to cut ties, Daewoo will have to seriously reconsider doing business with the repressive government of Uzbekistan. Daewoo’s cotton processing facilities are vital to the state-run cotton industry in Uzbekistan, so if it pulls out it will deal a huge blow to the ability of the country’s leaders to profit from forced labor. And we already know that we can make corporations listen.

Nike promised to help eliminate forced labor in the Uzbek cotton industry, but the International Labor Rights Forum caught it purchasing from a Daewoo factory, despite the call for a boycott. Nike has spent more than a decade trying to reassure customers about how it treats workers in its supply chain — if Nike expects us to take its promises seriously, it needs to institute stricter rules ensuring that it doesn’t do any business with companies that are profiting from slavery.

Sign our petition to Nike: If you want to stop slavery, prove it — cut ties with Daewoo now!


About I Am Not A Number

I Am Not A Number is written by Chris Jury. For 30 years Chris Jury was a TV actor, director and writer best known for playing Eric Catchpole in over 60 episodes of the BBC’s antique classic, Lovejoy, and for directing over 50 episodes of Eastenders. In 2008 he was appointed as the Senior Lecturer in Recorded Media in the School Of Music & Performing Arts at Bath Spa University. He currently presents, Agitpop, a pop & politics radio discussion programme on North Cotswold Community Radio He is currently the Communications Officer for UCU at Bath Spa University and a UCU SW Regional Rep at SWTUC.
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