The International Labor Rights Forum is planning a May 25 conference in Washington D.C. to discuss the state of the struggle. Representatives from the AFL/CIO, from Coca Cola, and from the State Department's office of Child Labor and Trafficking will present.
Given that the ILO's latest report on child labor shows that reductions observed between 2004-2008 have slowed way down in the past two years, it's time to renew strategies and take stock. For those who can't make it, streaming video of the event will be available here.
For the money-hungry and ambitious, trading a bit of their status by associating with the Uzbek dictatorship in return for some hard cash may seem like a good deal (exhibit A: Sting). Exhibit B comes this week courtesy of the Spanish daily of record El Pais: Joan Laporta, president of the renowned Spanish soccer team FC Barcelona, seems to have signed a deal linking the team with Uzbekistan's leading soccer club, Bunyodkor. Bunyodkor happens to be controlled by Zeromax, that many-tentacled vehicle for extraction of wealth said to be controlled by Gulnora Karimova, pithily described by the paper as "self-proclaimed 'Princess of Uzbeks', a woman with an extraordinarily broad curriculum. Parlty Princess Diana, Sarah Palin part, part Bond girl, part Cruella de Vil"[translation: google].
Zeromax, or Bunyodkor is reported to have funneled at least 8 million euros into the Barcelona club, which is also sponsored by, ahem, UNICEF. Conflict of interest, maybe? Since El Pais has emphasized that "what distinguishes Uzbekistan is the systematic abuse of children, millions of which have been forced into slave labor in cotton harvesting," maybe the team's Spanish fans and sponsors will feel that its standing of champion of human, and especially children's rights is not what it used to be. The beautiful game, indeed.