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Supply Chain Innovation

Action Pledge in Support of the UN International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor

Topic: 
Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Fair Labor Association (FLA) has worked for over 20 years to resolve labor rights issues from factories to farms in global supply chains. The FLA welcomes and supports the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) resolution declaring 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. 

The General Assembly calls upon the member States to make commitments “to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, child marriage, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms.” Several governments and organizations are drafting action pledges that will pave the way to end child labor by 2025. The International Labour Organizations is expecting thousands of 2021 Action Pledges, in line with their three-pillar strategy: Act. Inspire. Scale up.

As a multi-stakeholder initiative that works with civil society organizations, universities, and business to address systemic labor abuses such as child labor, the FLA is prepared to assume an active role in realizing this 2025 goal and support this important UN resolution with a renewed focus in 2021.  

As of today, there are about 152 million child laborers globally. Nearly one in every 10 children are subject to child labor and half of them are in worst forms of child labor. The FLA has comprehensive standards both for formal sector and informal sectors that condemn the use of child labor, hazardous work, and the worst forms of child labor. As part of our due diligence activities, we actively monitor and report on child labor issues in agricultural supply chains and in the manufacturing of apparel and footwear products, and support remediation activities. 

The impact of COVID-19 has exacerbated the childcare burden for families and increased the risk of child labor, especially for children in rural areas and agrarian economies.  The FLA has  stressed the need for a specific focus on mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on children.

The FLA commits to:

  • Upholding and advancing FLA standards that condemn the use of child labor, hazardous work, and worst forms of child labor in the formal and informal sectors.
  • Promoting awareness of child labor by reporting on the results of farm and factory due diligence and monitoring and issuing guidance to protect children.
  • FLA will increase its engagement with local and international trade unions on addressing child labor, with particular emphasis on the role of parents as a key driver in eliminating child labor.    
  • Supporting the adoption of mandatory human rights due diligence laws that address all fundamental core labor standards, including addressing the root causes of child labor in global supply chains.
  • Advocating for solutions, including primary school education and alternate rehabilitation services, that mitigate child labor risk and support children’s physical and mental development.
  • Promoting partnerships and best practices that address child labor by conducting research to understand the risks of child labor and test innovative ideas to prevent and reduce child labor.
  • Encouraging and supporting member companies to enhance and extend their ongoing efforts to address child labor risks in all tiers of their supply chains.

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