Gymboree, the children's clothing retailer, has blocked critics from its Facebook page who have been trying to get the company's attention about the sourcing of cotton from Uzbekistan, which is produced through the exploitation of child labor, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) reports.
ILRF has called attention to Gymboree in the past, urging the company to break its silence about the Uzbek cotton issue and leading a petition calling on Gymboree and Abercrombie to stop forced labor.
In an article on change.org, Tim Newman of ILRF says Gymboree has blocked his organization's critical comments from the corporate Facebook page. Other users have reported that their comments were also erased.
ILRF calls for supporters to email the company or go to the Gymboree Facebook Wall and ask them to "stop the censorship and start speaking out against forced child labor in the cotton industry."
Meanwhile, it seems that the active campaigning by ILHR and other groups concerned about forced child labor in Uzbekistan may be starting to have some effect on Gymboree.
Apparently Gymboree has just updated its corporate responsibility page with a statement about Uzbekistan added to the paragraph containing the company's policy barring child labor from its factories:
Gymboree prohibits the use of cotton sourced from Uzbekistan and textiles produced using Uzbekistan cotton because of Uzbekistan's history of forced child labor.
Activists are now researching this new statement to see exactly what the policy is and how it is being implemented and monitored.
Gymboree's policy also says it will not do business with suppliers found to use cotton produced by forced child labor, who fail to take corrective measures.