April 2017 Report
In this report, it is clear to see that the problems of child labour and poor working conditions are very much present, even after the tragedy of the Rana Plaza collapse. Children are still exploited, mentally and physically, working 12 hours in hot factories with no time for play or for education. The power is in our hands -- with consumers' spending habits being the main drive for brands to produce cheaper and more efficiently than anyone else. Therefore, together, brands, consumers and the government can work to change our decision process; the way we decide, purchase and consume. The people with the power can make the difference.
Unfortunately, in Indonesia child labour is seen as the norm, with children as young as 8 taking part in heavy duty work, and for some of the biggest household brands. Amnesty International have released a report about the palm oil plantations that are supplying brands that we know and love. The abuse of workers on these farms is health threatening, with 10-year-old boys working 6 days a week, carrying heavy loads in sacks, whatever the weather and with no education. Some of the big companies, like Colgate-Palmolive and Kellogg’s, could use their power to eradicate the use of child labour in their supply chain - call for this by signing the petition here.
In better news, social workers, NGOs and individuals in India have teamed together to run a campaign called ‘Time to Talk’. The campaign includes a two-day consultation with 65 child labourers from 14 states. The campaign allowed the children to share their stories and let their voices be heard. As well as this, the children themselves had the opportunity to put forward regulations they would like to change within the industry. Not surprisingly, all 65 participants ruled against any child labour, instead they want to fight for under 18s education and childhood privileges that should be essential in the governments system. To make this happen, the children believe that adults in India should be payed higher wages to detract the need for child labour.
Thomas Reuters foundation has released a report assessing the damage that big firms are having on the fast fashion industry. With many companies not using their power to act against child labour and poor working conditions, the consumers and the activists are starting to speak out. Cipriani, the founder of The Ethical Fashion Initiative, has spoken out about the lack of change that corporates are making, saying that they need to dramatically change their corporate structure to connect emotionally to the new generation of consumers.
In a recent report it has come to light that a headmaster in a school in Telangana’s Ranga Reddy district, India has been forcing children to stay after school to break down a wall in the school grounds. Although parents have complained profusely over this headmaster’s demands on children, no action has been taken further to suspend him or even warn him of his actions, despite the strict child labour laws. Even the government are turning a blind eye to the subject which is affecting children the most. An example suggesting that wider activism needs to be taking place to support the young children of our world.