Activist countries

Developed countries are the biggest users of child labor in supply chains

Covid-19 and a related increase in global poverty has led to an increase in child labor, particularly in supply chains in developed countries.

The increase in child labor in supply chains was mainly due to companies’ cruel and illegal business models, says Morales-de la Cruz. (AP Archive)

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.

Fernando Morales-de la Cruz, human rights activist, journalist, political consultant and social entrepreneur, noted that this is the 74th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and stated that there are more than 300 million working children in the world despite children’s rights. 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 Covid-19, we have also seen a significant increase in poverty. Child labor increases as poverty increases because child labor is a result of extreme poverty,” he said. added.

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“They do not respect the rights of the weakest children”

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

“You can talk about tens of millions of children working in supply chains in 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 do not respect the rights of the weakest children “, did he declare.

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, you can start with coffee, tea and cocoa, you can start with cotton and fashion. You can also continue with cobalt for electric cars and batteries. There are a lot of children working in these supply chains,” he said.

“Even luxury brands and gold and diamonds in jewelry 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 like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were going through extreme poverty which affected hundreds of millions of people.

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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. What we really have need is for the governments of developed countries to ensure that corporations follow the law and also that the government protects the rights of children and even slave laborers 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. declared.

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.

Increasing numbers

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.

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Source: AA