The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association’s (BGMEA) vice-president, Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury Arun, has finally come clean and admitted that child labour recruitment has increased in the last two years. The BGMEA have been resting on their laurels for some time, and spinning outdated stats from an ILO program conducted in the nineties which showed that child labour in the industry was going down. That project started in 1994 when 53 kids working in the garment industry appealed directly to the International Labour Organisation and to UNICEF to highlight their plight. The BGMEA described it like this:

On 4 July 1995 Bangladesh created history by signing a MoU on elimination of child labor from the garment sector. It was the culmination of long and arduous negotiations with ILO and Unicef and concentrated effort of BGMEA. BGMEA takes pride in declaring the garment sector of Bangladesh child labor free since 1 November 1996.

Nothing was ever further from the truth. That statement is patent and bombastic nonsense, and never reflected reality. The new project of the International Labour Organisaiton and the South Asian Enterprise Develpment Fund will be a five-year program to address “child labour, mid-management development and productivity improvement issues in the garments and knitwear sectors.”