Every year on June 12th, the international community commemorates World Day Against Child Labor in order to raise awareness and focus attention on how best to eliminate the exploitation of children in the workplace. This year’s theme “Ending Child Labor in Supply Chains” emphasized the fact that 168 million children are still engaged in child labor, many of whom work to produce internationally traded goods and services, or items destined for national consumption. Because child labor is most often performed at the lower level of supply chains in small workshops or home businesses where labor inspectors have difficulty reaching, and where trade unions and employer organizations are absent, it is incumbent on everyone, including governments, NGOs, businesses and consumers to take action to address the issue.
Over the years, Verité has performed research and developed tools, guidance and approaches to support responsible supply chain production and increase awareness of the risks of child labor and other labor abuses in key commodities. To that end, Verité works with businesses, as well as governments, to provide technical assistance on how to comply with international standards. For example, Verité is currently collaborating with Winrock International on CLEAR II, a US Department of Labor funded project aimed at building the capacity of Labor Ministries in eight different countries to better enforce laws against child labor and advise businesses on how they can eliminate child labor from the workplace.
In anticipation of World Day Against Child Labor 2016, Verité worked with Winrock to host a one-hour Twitter Forum on June 9th with a panel of experts to discuss the important role that advocates, businesses and consumers all play in addressing child labor. Declan Croucher, Director of Advisory Services at Verité, participated as a panelist providing insight on steps companies can take to eliminate child labor from their supply chains. Other panelists from Winrock, GoodWeave, Japan Tobacco International and Divine Fairtrade Chocolates also weighed in using the hashtag #EndCL to discuss their experiences and share links to resources and best practices in addressing the problem. Audience members in the Twittersphere participated by sending in questions and comments which made for a lively discussion, and by the end of the forum, the conversation had reached over 150,000 Twitter users.
Although World Day Against Child Labor 2016 is over, Verité will continue to develop resources, tools and materials to help both businesses and governments combat the problem of child labor, with the hope that by the time June 12th rolls around next year, the number of children being exploited at work will have significantly diminished.
For more information, please contact Declan Croucher.