Activist countries

Developed countries are biggest users of child labor in supply chains: expert

ISLAMABAD: Child labor has increased in the supply chains of developed countries and blocs such as the European Union, United States, Canada, Japan, Norway and Switzerland, especially due to cruel business models and illegal companies, said an expert on the occasion of World Children’s Day.

Talk to Anadolu AgencyHuman rights activist, journalist, political consultant and social entrepreneur Fernando Morales-de la Cruz noted that it was the 74th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and said he There were more than 300 million working children in the world despite the rights of the child considered within the framework of human rights.

Stressing that child labor harms the physical, psychological or emotional development of children, Morales-de la Cruz said: “And so these 300 million children suffer a lot.

He said the increase in child labor in supply chains was due to an increase in the types and volumes of products produced by countries in the Global South, but mostly due to companies’ cruel and illegal business models.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic has also led to an increase in child labour.

“During the Covid-19 outbreak, we have also seen a significant increase in poverty. Child labor is increasing as poverty increases because child labor is a result of extreme poverty,” a- he added.

The rights of the weakest children in supply chains are not respected

Morales-de la Cruz argued that developed economies and their businesses are the biggest financial beneficiaries of child labor.

“We can talk about tens of millions of children working in the supply chains of the European Union and the United States, and the same is true for Norway and Switzerland. This is a very serious problem, because these countries are supposed to have a system based on the rule of law and respect for human rights. But when you look at their supply chains and their investments, they don’t respect the rights of the weakest children,” he said.

He noted that he had asked German politicians at the highest level to do everything possible to stop this.

“The reality is that when you look at the products that Germany imports, we can start with coffee, tea and cocoa, we can start with cotton and fashion. We can also continue with cobalt for electric cars and batteries. Many children work in these supply chains,” he said.

“Even luxury brands and jewelry gold and diamonds are tainted with child labor. The problem of child labor is not only present in cheap products.

Morales-de la Cruz pointed out that companies pay producers a fraction of the actual cost of products. He pointed out that countries in Asia – such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh – were experiencing extreme poverty that affected hundreds of millions of people.

Difficult to find products not associated with child labor

“Asia is a major exporter of products to Europe and the United States. So when we look at the products that these countries import, we find child labor and even forced labor there. So what is really needed is for the governments of the developed countries to make sure that the companies obey the law and also that the government protects the rights of the children and even the slaves who work today.

That is why I wrote a letter to the leaders of the G7 Leaders’ Summit hosted by Germany at Elmau Palace in the state of Bavaria, demanding that they commit to eliminating forced labor and child labor,” he said.

Morales-de la Cruz said he expected German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other G7 leaders to show they were ready to act on the issue.

According to the latest study by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and UNICEF published on June 10, 2021, the number of children employed as laborers around the world has increased in recent years, reaching 160 million.

According to a report published on September 14 this year by the University of Zurich, there are more than 373 million children worldwide who work instead of play. This places them third in the world in terms of population after China and India.

According to official figures, around one in 10 children in the world work as child labourers, with this percentage rising to one in five children in developing countries. Some of these children work in dangerous jobs that could harm their health, safety and morals.