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THAILAND

Alicia’s father jailed over Cambodia abduction

The father of Alicia Elfversson, the six year-old Swedish girl who he abducted and took to Cambodia, has been sentenced to one and a half years in prison by a district court in Gothenburg.

Alicia's father jailed over Cambodia abduction

Back in June 2007, then 47-year-old Torgeir Nordbo had told the girl’s mother, Maria Elfversson, that he was taking Alicia on a two week vacation.

At the time, Elfversson was living in Gothenburg and raising the then five-year-old Alicia, against the wishes of Nordbo, who lived in Thailand.

After not hearing from Alicia’s father for several days, Elfversson later learned from a lawyer that Nordo had taken the girl on an “extended vacation”.

Following more than a year in hiding, during which time Nordo had cut Alicia’s hair in attempt to disguise her as a boy, he was arrested in Cambodia in July and brought back to Sweden to stand trial.

Prosecutors sought and succeed in having Nordbo convicted of unlawfully separating the child from her legal guardian (egenmäktighet med barn), for which he is to serve 18 months in prison.

In addition, the court ordered Nordbo to pay 88,000 kronor ($12,450) in damages to the girl’s mother and 40,000 kronor to Alicia.

H&M

Swedish fashion giant faces child labour claims

Organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticized, among others, Swedish retailer H&M over alleged child labour and poor work conditions in its Cambodian factories, in a report published on Thursday.

Swedish fashion giant faces child labour claims
Swedish clothes retailer H&M has been criticized by Human Rights Watch. Photo: AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Justin Tang

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In the report, which also mentions international brands such as Adidas, Marks and Spencer and Gap, HRW interviews workers at 73 factories in Cambodia and many tell of forced overtime, few opportunities to take a break, and of sexual harassment.

In one of the factories, which produces clothes for H&M, workers describe how they have been made to work on their days off. They also claim that staff at one of the factory's sub contractors uses children as cheap labour.

“Some of the worst employment related crimes happen at the larger factories' smaller suppliers. The reason is that nobody really investigates them,” Aruna Kashyap, who focuses on women's rights at HRW, told Swedish broadcaster SVT.


Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson and Aruna Kashyap at an HRW press conference. Photo: AP

In one factory, workers claimed that their productivity was being monitored on behalf of H&M.

They are now assessing how much time it takes to make a shirt. I don't know what H&M is thinking but this is very difficult for workers. (…) We can't rest. (…) For some types of shirts they are setting 2,000 as quota. We have to meet this quota every day. Otherwise we get shouted at,” he said in an interview with HRW.

H&M representatives told HRW that they have not commissioned any productivity studies in their supplier factories, but added it was possible it could have been done without their knowledge.

Press officer Håcan Andersson told SVT that they have sought information to find out what factories are involved.

“We have asked HRW to share the information about the alleged H&M suppliers mentioned in the report so that we can follow it up on site, but they have not been willing to do that,” he wrote in an email.

He added that H&M representatives are going to meet with HRW later this week.

“They have shown interest in the report and is one of few clothing companies that openly publish the factories they work with,” Nisha Varia, advocacy director of HRW's women's rights division, told SVT.