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18.07.2017 - News

Tackling child labour at its roots

The G20 summit in Hamburg last week, which reunited leaders of 20 countries in the world, decided to eliminate child labour in supply chains by 2025 in underlining the responsibility of businesses to respect the rights of children. Terre des hommes has a key role to play to achieve this important goal.

With 168 million of children still in child labour worldwide, including over 85 million children in hazardous work, all supply chains run the risk of the presence of children working in exploitative conditions. The G20 summit in Hamburg last week addressed the abuses of human rights and labour standards in global supply chains. Focusing on the responsibility of the business community to uphold human rights both in the workplace and more broadly along its entire value chain, the countries committed to take immediate and effective measures to eliminate child labour by 2025. A complex task, which requires a process involving governments, businesses, trade unions, as well as NGOs working together to fulfill this goal. Tdh, which positions itself within this frame, has a key part in helping businesses achieve this structural change.

Peggy Herrmann Ljubicic, responsible for the child labour programme says: “Nowadays, it is in the best interest of firms to maximize business and social values by mitigating child labour. This is why it is essential to tackle the problem with an additional perspective: to approach businesses who are implicated in the supply chain. Together, in a constructive and innovative partnership, we will create new business models to achieve the goal of eliminating child labour and exploitative conditions on all levels.

So far, Terre des hommes has focused on domestic labour, sexual exploitation and child labour in small companies. Our work with brick kilns on a small-scale level in Nepal has shown significant impact by working with the owners to eliminate the work of children under the age of 16, to give them the opportunity to go to school, and to improve the working conditions of youth over 16.

Our priority goal now is to reduce child labour in supply chains. We aim to make an impact for children in these situations by working with multinational companies to ensure that human rights and labour standards are met. This is in the context of tackling the problem of the worst forms of child labour at its roots.

In 2016, Terre des hommes provided assistance to more than 200,000 children affected by exploitation. Through shared value partnerships in the garment, extractive and agriculture sectors, we will develop ways to address this issue with the goal of eliminating child labour worldwide and guaranteeing rights to working youth.

Photo credit: © Sajana Shrestha