White Gold: The True Cost of Cotton
(8 minutes) UK/Uzbekistan
Director/Producer: Environmental Justice Foundation
White Gold tells the story of the true cost of cotton. Largely filmed undercover, this film exposes how each year schools are closed and tens of thousands of children are forced by the Uzbek government to work in the fields for months at a time. Uzbekistan in Central Asia is the world’s third largest exporter of cotton. Europe is one of its biggest buyers. The state controlled cotton industry makes billions of dollars for the governing elite but little of this benefits the rest of the population. A third are forced to work in modern day slavery to produce this white gold. Many are children. Tens of thousands of children, some as young as seven, are taken out of school and forced to work in the cotton fields for little or no money during the harvest. The period can last up to three months, during which older children live in dormitories or classrooms under harsh conditions. The combined effect of exhausting work, a poor diet, lack of clean water and exposure to toxic pesticides has a dramatic impact on health. These children are also missing out on vital education to pick cotton for the world’s fashion industry.
The Environmental Justice Foundation is a UK registered charity established to empower people who suffer most from environmental abuses to find peaceful ways of preventing them. EJF makes a direct link between the need for environmental security and the defense of basic human rights, working across a range of campaigns including cotton production, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, shrimp production, pesticides and displacement caused by climate related environmental changes. Our organization is all about helping people to help themselves. Working with grassroots organizations in some of the world’s poorest countries, EJF cuts through political and commercial agendas to reach those people who so often lack a voice for their concerns, taking their message to international audiences and to decision-makers.
Web site: www.ejfoundation.org/page330.html