July 2017 Report
According to an article by GTR, only 22% of companies are addressing child labour concerns in the supply chain. The results of a new survey of business executives makes for sobering reading, given that there are more than 150 million children engaged in child labour around the world. The report, authored by the Economist Intelligence Unit for Standard Chartered, interviewed 100 respondents from each of China, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the US. The majority of respondents came from companies with turnover of more than US$500mn.
The relative failure to address more pressing and potentially catastrophic concerns speaks to how difficult they are to tackle: eradicating child labour from your supply chain is more costly than ensuring there’s a recycling bin in each office. But the message of the report is: there’s no excuse.
The Pakistan Today reports that, according to the International Labour Organisation, there are an estimated 12 million child labourers in Pakistan. These children, instead of going to school, are often working long hours under inhumane conditions, without any social security. The report further states that the actual number of children working as domestic labourers is hard to ascertain, since no proper survey on underage domestic workers has taken place since 1996.
There are child labour laws in place, however implementation is challenging. As is often the case in Pakistan, the law is frequently no more than an inconvenience for the high and mighty.
A recent article gives an insight into the growing problem of young girls who are forced into domestic work in Nigeria as young girl named 'Titi' recalls her experience. Handed over by their families to work for the upper and middle class, it makes it difficult for the authorities to not only determine a figure on the number of minors working but to prosecute those who traffic and abuse the young girls. Law’s in Nigeria are inconsistent as the Child’s Rights Act prohibits a minimum age for Labour being 12 years old but Employment 18 years old according to a 2015 US Labour Department report. Some employers believe that these girls are better off as some get an education, salary and contact with their family however, for the many, they get moved around often in order to be able to demand higher salaries from employers, forced to work as long as an 18-hour day for an example of 10,000 naira ($33) per month such as the young girl ‘Titi’ and no regard is given to their happiness or desire for an education.
The UK’s shift from petrol/diesel to electric cars by 2040 has brought to light the urgency for more transparency needed by car brands in order to ensure child labourers by supply chains aren’t on the rise. “Research shows that there is a significant risk of cobalt mined by children and adults in appalling conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo ending up in the batteries of electric cars” says Business and Human Rights Researcher at Amnesty International – Mark Dummett. These workers earn as little as 77p per day and are exposed to a high risk of fatal accidents and illnesses and with the demand of cobalt about to sky rocket, these people cannot pay the price.
Brought to light in this article is the reality of abductions of young children who reside at Sealdah station. Comprising of 20 platforms and two million people passing through a day (seven times as busier than London Waterloo), there are 639 reports of missing people last month (July 2017). Many run away from abusive homes or poverty only to be exposed to traffickers who seek victims for physical abuse, sex trafficking or slavery as an estimated 12,000 sex workers are based only two miles away in Sonagachi, the largest red light district. Mother’s sleep in the station fearful of their children being stolen in the night, as traffickers are very hard to identify with some being members of India’s own Law Enforcement.
The Guardian reports that thousands of Syrian refugee children in Jordan are missing out on an education despite the provision last year of 75,000 new school places to cater for them. The country pledged to get all out-of-school refugees back into education by September 2017, but charities have warned the current system remains plagued by difficulties. Problems include lack of support for students, a shortage of qualified teachers and alleged bullying.
During the course of the conflict up to 1.3 million Syrians are estimated to have crossed the border. Many young people, already traumatised by war, fell into child labour or were forced into early marriages to ease the financial burdens facing their families.