Good Practices for addressing Child Labor

Children chopping bean pods off cocao tree trunks with machetes, boys using toxic chemicals to process gold-bearing ore in small-scale mines, child cotton pickers lugging heavy sacks, girls sold as sex workers to hotels in tourist destinations… The Child Labour Platform (CLP) has drawn up nine good practices for addressing child labor. These are to be presented at the International Supply Management Congress in Amsterdam on 15 and 16 December 2011.


The CLP is an initiative hosted by the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) that serves to accelerate the eradication of child labor. The platform is a business network consisting of twenty-five multinational enterprises from four sectors (cocoa, cotton, textiles, mining, and tourism). Aidenvironment has been assisting the platform since April 2011. The CLP cooperates closely with the UN Global Compact, the International Labour Organisation (ILO).


Drawing on the knowhow and experience of the CLP companies, nine good practices have been developed in compliance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The practices include approaches to mainstream child labor requirements into core business and purchasing practices and the development of longer term and more stable relationships with suppliers. They also advocate the involvement of external stakeholders in tracking performance, and the remediation and eradication of child labor through partnerships with relevant stakeholders in production areas.


Child labor – a grave violation of human rights – is still widespread in many parts of the world, in production and service chains such as the textile and apparel, cocoa, tourism and mining sectors. A worldwide web of multi-tier suppliers is a common feature of these chains, with child labor concentrated in the lowest tiers.


The ILO estimates that two-thirds of the children who are economically active are subject to unlawful practices. While the number of child laborers (aged 5-14) worldwide declined from 222 to 215 million between 2004 and 2008, child labor remains a problem of epic proportions that urgently needs to be addressed by all parties concerned.


For more information contact Marina d’Engelbronner-Kolff.