A few weeks ago I signed a petition requesting, or possibly even demanding, that the parliament of the European Union reject trade preferences for Uzbekistan and that they should take tougher action to stop child slavery in the country.
Craig Murray, ex-ambassador to Uzbekistan, has previously reported that over one million children are used as slave labour during cotton harvesting in the country. They receive little or nothing for their work, and because they are charged for their transport to and from the cotton fields many are left in debt.
I'm not sure how the petition hoped that the second part of that demand would be fulfilled but the first half seemed simple enough. I don't think that the EU should be buying cotton which has been picked by kids of 10 to be used within its borders.
Many large supermarkets have already refused to buy cotton products which use material made from Uzbek cotton, and finally on Thursday the parliament voted overwhelmingly to reject a textile trade deal between the union and Uzbekistan citing child slavery as its reason.
I hope that a market the size of the EU (Europe buys 1/3 of the Uzbekistan's cotton/cotton products) refusing to do business with the country will force its leaders to look again at its production methods, and the people it uses as slaves.