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Which products are made by child labour?

Sep 24

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24/09/2009 09:27  RssIcon

A new report lists goods commonly produced by child or forced labour - looking at 122 products in 58 countries.

The US Department of Labor has for the first time released a list of goods produced by child or forced labour globally, following a request from the US Congress. The report looks at 122 products in 58 countries.

According to the report international labour standards, child labor is defined as work performed by someone under the age of 15, or under 18 where specific forms of work are deemed harmful. Forced labour is involuntary or done under threat.

India was linked to the highest number of products made with child labor or forced labor including footballs and clothing, according to report. Brazil, Bangladesh, China and the Philippines were also in the top six countries linked to individual products that use child or forced labor. Myanmar (Burma) was noted most often for forced labor, for  products like rice, sugar cane and rubber.

"The purpose for doing this is to shine a spotlight so more activities can take place that target these problems," said Sandra Polaski, deputy undersecretary for International Affairs in the U.S. Department of Labor, "In our country we think of these at 19th century problems but these are 21st century problems."

The International Labor Organization has found that 69 percent of child labor worldwide is in agriculture, the report said.

The most common agricultural goods produced by child or forced labor are cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, coffee, rice and cocoa. Both forms of labor for cotton production were found in countries including China, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

The listing of specific goods and countries indicates a "significant incidence" of child or forced labour for the country and product in question.

Cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate, was found being produced by child and forced labour in Ivory Coast (the world's biggest producer) and Nigeria. The forthcoming issue of Ethical Consumer magazine rates the ethical scores of chocolate manufactueres of brand's available in the UK

Child and forced labor was also identified in the mining sector, with gold the most commonly identified mineral produced.

By rewarding those companies with positive records in human and worker's rights and with progressive supply chain policies and  boycotting and campaigning against those companies that put profits before people we can help build the coalition of forces between citizens, NGOs, workers, business and government needed to eliminate exploitive child labor or forced labor from a sector or a country. Providing the information on which to make those judgement is what Ethical Consumer does.

You can download a PDF of the report here.


2 comment(s) so far...

Re: Which products are made by child labour?

We should not buy products from companies who are so "Greedy" that they use child labor or poor wages to pay their employees. The Bible tells us, that we should pay our employees well so that they might have healthy food on their table, proper shelter, and decent clothing! A good employer would also give bonuses so that the employee might enjoy life, also.
As an employer myself, my employees were paid double the going rate of our competetor's, treated with kindness and fairness, were given three weeks paid vacation each year, paid holidays and health Insurance. We also gave bonuses and took them on trips a few times a year. This created an atmosphere of respect and teamer's.
Shame on the American's who have left the U.S. to get cheaper labor that harms other human beings to make more profits for themselves. The world ends because of the "Greed of Man".

By Jeanna Scott on   25/09/2009 22:29

Re: Which products are made by child labour?

I am also very concerned with the increased use of prison slave labor in US prisons. As more and more Americans are forced into prison, more and more companies seek the cheap slave labor our laws permit., taking real jobs away from an already damaged market.

i would be very interested n a list of companies that use prison slave labor so that a boycott list might be constructed. I'm not sure where to get this information.

I would be delighted with any constructive comments.

By Tommie Miller on   26/11/2009 09:00


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