Once again, Gulnara Karimova, the controversial daughter of Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov, will be on the runway during Fashion Week in New York City this fall as she was last year.
Mercedes Benz, sponsor of the Fashion Week September 8-15, announced today that Gulnara is on the calendar to show her Guli label. The dictator's daughter is described as being very well educated, with a Ph.D. in political science from the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent.
Karimova, revealed in an alleged US embassy cable exposed by WikiLeaks to be "the most hated person in Uzbekistan," has become notorious in the world media for her alleged involvement in Zeromax, a state-organized conglomerate of businesses involved in everything from oil to food to textiles which was seized by the Uzbek government last year and put into bankruptcy.
Various labor and human rights groups campaigning against the use of forced child labor in the cotton industry are expected to mount protests in New York.
Such organizations as the International Labor Rights Forum have recently been petitioning successfully to get brands like Carter's, Gymboree and The Children's Place to pledge not to source their cotton in Uzbekistan. Earlier, Marks & Spencer, Target, Gap, C&A, H&M, Wal-Mart and Tesco were among the companies that pledged to avoid Uzbek cotton.
The U.S. Department of Labor has prohibited the acquisition of cotton from Uzbekistan due to the use of forced child labor.
The International Labor Organization has expressed grave concerns about the allegations of forced child labor in Uzbekistan, but the government has refused to invite the ILO into the country for an inspection of conditions during the cotton harvest.
This article first appeared on Choihona at EurasiaNet.