Tackling child labour

Terre des hommes (Tdh) is contributing to prevent child labour in the supply chain of large enterprises. We commit to strengthening the appropriate protection systems for child labourers and promote access to their fundamental rights with a special focus on working together with large enterprises in West Africa and South East Asia.

Our vision to tackle child labour

Resilience & empowerment of children and families

Tdh believes that children and young people can take the opportunity, change their living and working conditions and voice their opinions, if they are empowered and supported to do so. That is the reason why we focus on providing alternatives to child labour for children and their families by raising awareness of children's rights and the importance of education and recreational activities, and ease the access to schools - especially in developing countries. These alternatives sustainably improve the quality of the lives of children, their families and the communities they are living in.

Linking state & community actors

Tdh recognises that we cannot support children alone in the long term. Alongside working with children, families and communities, Tdh builds capacities of key government and community actors (including civil societies) involved in child protection and child labour monitoring and strengthens child protection systems to offer alternatives to child labour and also to improve working conditions when appropriate. Tdh believes that different child protection mechanisms must complement each other to ensure sustainable and holistic solutions to prevent child labour and protect children at risk and/or victims of child labour.

Engaging with the businesses to foster change

Tdh is also focusing on child labour in the gold supply chain in West Africa and exploring viability to work on the cotton supply chain in Asia, engaging with the businesses to address the issue on multiple levels. In fact, child labour is a complex issue in the global labour market: therefore, businesses can address it in their supply chain, generating business value while achieving social impact. Tdh will link the businesses with communities that are surrounding their supply chain. Meanwhile, businesses partnering with Tdh will sustain accountable ethical practices to mitigate child labour risk and improve working conditions in their global value chains.

Distinction between child labour and child work

In its work to tackle child labour, Tdh makes a critical distinction between child work and child labour. In fact, child work refers to the participation of children in any paid or unpaid economic activity to support families, which are not detrimental to their health and mental and physical development. On the contrary, child labour refers to all kinds of labour which jeopardize a child’s physical, mental, educational or social development. We give top priority to eradicating the latter, improving children’s working conditions and adapting to specific situations.

“We believe that Terre des hommes has a key role to play to achieve the important goal of tackling child labour in value chains.”

Peggy Herrmann Ljubicic, Head of Programme - Tackling Child Labour


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Related publications

What works for working children: Being effective when tackling child labour
Thematic Policy - Enhancing child protection systems
Study on the issues and risks for child protection in the Segou region in Mali
Making an impact for children: Annual Report 2017
Child Safeguarding Policy

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