Elimination of Child Labor

Child Labor in Supply Chains: Addressing Challenges and Seeking Solutions

Child labor in supply chains globally remains a pressing issue, with western companies inadvertently contributing to its proliferation through outsourcing to businesses in emerging economies. While these companies cannot be held entirely responsible for the employment practices of their subcontractors, they do have the power to take measures to prevent child labor.

One of the key challenges faced by western companies is balancing ethical considerations with commercial realities. Actively monitoring manufacturing partners for labor violations, environmental concerns, and safety hazards is crucial. However, such vigilance can have unintended consequences, such as delays and increased costs, which can impact the companies themselves.[1]

The European Union has also faced difficulties in passing legislation to eliminate child labor, realizing that voluntary cooperation from businesses is not sufficient. Merely having policies and corporate human rights due diligence in place is not enough to ensure compliance and protection of children’s rights on the ground.[2]

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the problem, pushing more children into the workforce. During times of crisis, such as pandemics, natural disasters, or military conflicts, poverty becomes a harsh reality for many families. Desperate circumstances force families to make difficult choices for survival, often resulting in child labor.

Three undeniable truths regarding child labor emerge:

  1. Child labor is most prevalent in places where poverty is widespread.
  2. Poverty creates a fertile ground for exploitation.
  3. Progress in eradicating child labor has been painfully slow, despite the efforts of various organizations. The scale of the problem remains daunting.

Jesus once told His disciples, “The poor you shall always have with you,” acknowledging the perpetual presence of poverty in society.

However, it is crucial to grasp the deeper meaning behind Jesus’ words. While poverty may persist, it is within our power to make a difference.[3] Each individual has the opportunity to extend a helping hand, whether through acts of kindness or by supporting organizations committed to combating child labor.

GFA World, alongside numerous non-profit and faith-based organizations, is dedicated to transforming poverty-stricken villages and providing essential resources, education, and hope for a better future. These organizations tirelessly work to address the root causes of child labor and uplift communities burdened by poverty.

Eliminating child labor from global supply chains is a complex task that requires collaboration and commitment from various stakeholders. Governments, businesses, consumers, and advocacy groups all play a role in driving change. Raising awareness about the issue, fostering responsible business practices, and supporting initiatives aimed at improving the lives of marginalized children are essential steps in the journey towards eradicating child labor.

Child labor remains an alarming issue in global supply chains, demanding the engagement and responsibility of western companies. While finding the balance between ethical considerations and commercial realities is a complex endeavor, actively monitoring manufacturing partners for labor violations is a critical step. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the inseparable connection between poverty and child labor, emphasizing the need for swift action. By supporting GFA World’s child sponsorship program, individuals can contribute to breaking the chains of poverty and empowering children through education and support. With collective determination, responsible business practices, and support for organizations like GFA World, we can work towards a future where child labor is eradicated, and every child enjoys their fundamental rights.

Learn more about elimination of child labor

[1] Lovejoy, Ben. 2020. “Apple Reluctant to Ban Suppliers Guilty of Labor Violations; Can Take Years to Do So.” 9to5Mac. December 31, 2020. https://9to5mac.com/2020/12/31/apple-reluctant-to-ban-suppliers-guilty-of-labor-violations-can-take-years-to-do-so/.
[2] “EU Parliament Vote Critical to Hold Companies to Account.” 2021. Human Rights Watch. January 21, 2021. https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/01/21/eu-parliament-vote-critical-hold-companies-account.
[3] Mark 14:7