January 2018 Report
A $23 million venture fund aiming to tackle the threat of forced labor in big businesses with the help of tech startups was launched on Tuesday, backed by brands from Disney to Walmart. Humanity United, a US-based foundation, has partnered with major corporations and the British government to create Working Capital, a first-of-its-kind fund to invest in innovations to ensure that companies’ supply chains are free of modern slavery.
The fund has received capital from the C&A Foundation, affiliated with fashion retailer C&A, the Walmart Foundation, and Walt Disney Co among others, according to Humanity United. In recent years modern slavery has increasingly come under the global spotlight, putting ever greater regulatory and consumer pressure on firms to ensure their supply chains are free of forced labor, child labor and other forms of slavery.
Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic arm of global software major Infosys, on Monday said it has joined hands with Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi's Children's Foundation to create child labour-free villages. "A grant would be created as part of the tie-up to create a child-friendly village focused towards improving children's health, providing education and creating a non-violent environment," Bengaluru-based Infosys Foundation said in a statement here.
Through the project, Delhi-based Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation aims to benefit 10,000 children, women and youth through education, vocational training and career counselling and improve child protection mechanism in villages. It aims at creating child labour-free villages.
In Myanmar, one in five children aged 10 to 17 are working instead of attending school, stated a government report in 2015. The real number is estimated to be higher. Ms Piyamal Pichaiwongse, the International Labour Organisation’s deputy liaison officer in Yangon, said this child labour problem started to manifest itself only when the country began to open up. “Child labour is about poverty, attitudes (and) culture change. There are so many actors that are contributing to the problem," she said. The economic boom in Myanmar, which began its transition from military-governed isolation to democratic rule in 2011, has fuelled this crisis as companies exploit cheap child labour to save costs.
Two French human rights groups have filed a lawsuit against electronics giant Samsung, accusing it of misleading advertising because of alleged labour abuses at factories in China and South Korea.
Samsung is said to use deceptive trade practices, based on documents from China Labour Watch and others; and responsible for violations including exploitation of children, excessive working hours and use of dangerous equipment and gases.
The lawsuit is part of larger efforts by rights groups to use French courts to hold multinationals to account for alleged wrongdoing and to push for an international treaty against corporate abuses.
Nearly seven years into Syria’s civil war, Syrian refugees in neighbouring Lebanon are becoming poorer, leaving children at risk of child labour and early marriage, aid organisations said on Tuesday. A recent survey by the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF, the World Food Programme and refugee agency, UNHCR, showed that Syrian refugees in Lebanon are more vulnerable now than they have been since the beginning of the crisis. Around 1.5 million refugees who fled Syria’s violence account for a quarter of Lebanon’s population.