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The Effective Abolition of Forced Labor


In the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, labor rights protection and advocacy are highlighted as one of the four sub-pillars of global concern. This signifies how businesses worldwide, in one way or another, can contribute to labor exploitation and are accountable for taking reparatory action. As public concern for people's well-being is more connected than ever, according to the UNGC Guide to Corporate Sustainability, the Global Compact companies have been seen incorporating policies and practices essential for rooting labor standards into business strategies, operations, and culture. Regulation regarding child labor–one of the most vulnerable groups of labor exploitation–is highlighted and implemented by 67% of the GC companies. Many cases were reported and subsequently banned for business employment of children.


BUSINESS EXPLOITATION OF CHILD LABOR

According to the most recent estimates released in 2021, roughly 160 million boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 17 are child laborers. They are often deprived of education and the potential for a brighter future with decent work. Seventy-nine million are in hazardous work environments that directly endanger their safety, health, and moral development. The report also warns that nearly 9 million additional children are at risk of being pushed into child labor by the end of 2022. According to UNICEF, the agriculture industry employs 70 percent of the 120 million children who work as child laborers. In child labor, nearly 28% of children between 5 to 11 years old and 35% of children aged 12 to 14 years are not in school. For example, farmers in the cocoa industry earn less than $1 per day and thus rely on child labor to keep prices low. With the increasing demand for chocolate in recent years, the industry's desire to keep costs low persists.


THE EFFECTIVE ABOLITION OF CHILD LABOR

The Child Labour Platform is a multisector, multi-stakeholder forum for sharing experiences and lessons learned in eliminating child labor, particularly within the supply chain. The Platform delivers training and capacity support to address obstacles and critical dilemmas faced by businesses. This links with global and local initiatives against child labor and promote practical action that can make a difference in affected communities. Co-chaired by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and coordinated by the ILO and the Global Compact, companies and relevant organizations are encouraged to join the Child Labour Platform.

Child labor is evidently a complex issue that affects all of us. With regard to child exploitation in business, there is a need to advocate for social protection and universal child benefits. More importantly, we must raise awareness and educate one another about this issue.



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