Gap Under Fire: Reports Allege Child Labor

Gap: Allegations "deeply upsetting and we take this situation very seriously."

ByABC News via logo
October 28, 2007, 8:40 AM

Oct. 28, 2007 — -- Retail giant Gap has been tied to accusations of child labor through a vendor that produces some of its children's clothing line.

The allegations originally appeared in the British newspaper The Observer today and said children worked as bonded laborers to make embroidered blouses for Gap Kids.

The clothes were going to be shipped to outlets in the United States and Europe, just in time for the Christmas shopping season.

Video taken by Dan McDougall, a freelance journalist in New Delhi, India, and acquired by ABC News, showed Gap labels being stitched into garments and the location of a work room in a slum.

McDougall said the children working in the sweatshop were between the ages of 10 and 13 and slept on the roof.

"There was an overflowed latrine, bowls of rice covered in flies, a lot of mosquitoes, quite a putrid smell inside the sweatshop," he said.

While Gap continues its investigation, the company said the garments made by the children never will be sold in its stores and the order has been scrapped.

The company quickly responded to the charges, saying in a statement, "These allegations are deeply upsetting and we take this situation very seriously.

"We firmly believe that under no circumstances is it acceptable for children to produce or work on garments," the statement added.

On "Good Morning America Weekend Edition" Sunday, Gap North America president Marka Hansen reiterated that the company does not support child labor.

"We do not ever -- ever -- condone child labor in making our garments," she said. "This is completely unacceptable."

Hansen said many of the vendors that work with Gap are committed to its rules and goals, which includes disallowing child labor.

When vendors do not adhere to company standards, they are dismissed, she said.

In fact, last year the company fired 23 factories for not adhering to Gap standards, Hansen said.

"Quite frankly, I am glad that this was brought to our attention because it allows us to double down on our efforts," Hansen added.