World Day Against Child Labour – 12th June
Child labour: the reality
Child labour is defined as work that deprives children and adolescents of their childhood. It is a deprivation of dignity that could have harmful impact on long term physical or mental wellbeing. The International Labour Organisation state that this is work that is ‘mentally, physically, socially, or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and/or interferes with their schooling’. World Day Against Child Labour is an opportunity for us to pull together and spread the message of key organisations to help prevent and eradicate child labour around the globe.
Sadly the worst forms of labour involve children being enslaved, separated from loved ones and families, exposed to illness, isolation, and often serious hazards that pose risk to the morals, health, and life of a child.
Worldwide, almost 1 in 10 of all children are in child labour. 152 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 in child labour, with half of those being exposed to hazardous forms of child labour. Half of the victims of child labour are of primary school age; between 5 and 11 year’s old.
The impact of COVID-19 on child labour
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing an unprecedented crisis around the globe. The harmful effects will not be distributed equally. The poorest, most disadvantaged, and vulnerable will feel the biggest impact. Children are not at the forefront of this pandemic, however they risk being among its biggest victims. COVID-19 is having drastic consequences for the most vulnerable people in our societies around the world.
As global poverty increases so too will child labour. The rates of parental mortality will have one of the biggest impacts, with children now forced into the worst kinds of child labour, putting millions of lives at risk. The closure of schools will also have a significant impact, affecting the most vulnerable. It is estimated that 42-66 million children could fall into extreme poverty as a result of the current crisis, adding to the 386 million who are already.
The consequences could last generations. The impact of less education in earlier life results in worse employment in the long term. Stress and trauma in childhood and adolescence results in a lifetime of mental health challenges.
What individuals can do to help
In such a crisis, it can feel impossible to know how we as individuals can help to make a difference. But there are always ways to help, and individual actions really do add up to make an impact.
✅ Educate yourself and share your knowledge with others
✅ Ask questions and don’t give up until you have your answers
✅ Speak out about the products you want to buy, and make suggestions to retailers; the power of the purse is very strong
✅ Buy secondhand and preloved – Babipur BST is an important part of our business, recognising our impact, and encouraging people to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
✅ Share your wealth for equality – buy less, choose well
✅ Support ethical businesses that share your values
✅ Become a smarter, more conscious consumer to help stop slave labour altogether
Babipur’s commitment to reducing the impact of COVID-19
Babipur is committed to supporting brands that have transparent policies on preventing child labour. We work with brands who share our moral and ethical values and this is at the heart of all we do. It is a vital part of our business to rigorously review all brands and products before passing them on to the customer.
The clothing industry has been heavily affected by COVID-19 with retailer and high street closures. Small businesses are struggling and Babipur is facing its own challenges. When brands cancel or postpone stock orders it sends ripples down the supply chain. This ultimately impacts the producers and makers the most.
We were aware that many high street retailers were sadly forced to close their doors, so we communicated with suppliers to see if there was anything we could do to help, such as taking more stock for the season. We’ve made sure we have done everything we can to support the clothing makers, and ensure the spring summer season goes well. We continued to accept stock and deliveries when we were shut so as not to disrupt the supply chain.
We need to be smarter, more conscious consumers, and care about our health, the planet, and its people. Never underestimate the power of an individual’s choice, and what a difference it can make.
Unicef: Why child labour cannot be forgotten during COVID-19 https://blogs.unicef.org/evidence-for-action/why-child-labour-cannot-be-forgotten-during-covid-19/
World Economic Forum: COVID-19 heightens the risk of child labour. This is how we can tackle it https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/05/covid-19-heightens-the-risk-of-child-labor-but-there-is-a-path-to-child-labor-free-cocoa/
Institute for Humane Education: 10 tips for helping end child labour https://humaneeducation.org/10-tips-for-helping-end-child-labor/
Fairtrade Foundation: Putting an end to child labour in supply chains https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/Media-Centre/Blog/2016/June/Ending-child-labour-in-supply-chains
United Nations: https://www.un.org/en/observances/world-day-against-child-labour
United Nations Sustainable Development Group: https://unsdg.un.org/resources/policy-brief-impact-covid-19-children
International Labour Organisation: COVID-19 impact on child labour and forced labour https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_norm/—ipec/documents/publication/wcms_745287.pdf