How to Stop Child Labour
More than 5 million children are stuck in some form of modern-day slavery. Guest blogger Suelen outlines how to stop child labour and take action against the brands that, knowingly or unknowingly, are relying upon slavery.
Despite the improvement of standards of living, such as access to education and health, there still persists what we can call an acceptance of child labour. Although awareness is growing, the problem continues to increase at alarming rates, especially in developing countries.
It is not uncommon that famous brands of food, clothing, electronics and other products use child labour. Many entities that fight for the end of slave labour demand practical mechanisms, like labelling products that don’t use slave labour in their production chains, to help create awareness of the issue.
However, even actions as such these, which are little compared to what has to be done, face strong resistance in implementation. One can easily conclude that there is not a genuine interest by authorities to eradicate child labour.
There are other methods to create awareness of and eradicate child labour, and all of them should be explored. For instance, for big companies of the textile sector, an intensive control of the production chain with auditors inspecting the whole manufacturing process would end the recurring lies that such companies tell, like blaming the outsourced service responsible for the sewing of the garment.
With professionals monitoring the service, companies will not be able to claim that they are not liable in case of child labour, as they will be informed of every activity that occurs in their production chain. If this becomes law, benefits like tax reduction could be granted to those make use of audit.
It is way past the time to recognise children’s rights as a global priority and demand solid positions and cooperation from governments, civil society, NGOs and the private sector. Thus, facilitating the public access to information regarding to brands involved with such crime is essential.
People must be aware that they are buying a product or using the service of a company that uses slavery, which is why labelling is such an important step. If you could know, at the moment of purchase, that an item is the result of exploitation, would you still buy it?
While labelling is not yet a reality, scrutinising the brands’ policies is something that can be easily done before shopping. A real change requires individual actions and conscious choices.
Submitted by Suelen Henriques, an attorney in human rights, labour and international law as well as a children’s and women’s rights activist. Follow her on Twitter @henriquesadv or check out her blog.
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