Fairtrade tackles root causes and systemic issues that result in Child Labour

Posted by Lauren Scaroni on

The 12th of June is World Day Against Child Labour. The theme is Act now: end child labour! Child labour refers to work that is harmful to a child’s health and wellbeing, and/or interferes with their education, leisure and development. It is a highly complex issue, affecting boys and girls in most countries in the world.

The world is making progress as the International Labour Organisation reports ‘child labour has decreased by 38 per cent in the last decade … the COVID-19 pandemic has considerably worsened the situation, but joint and decisive action can reverse this trend.’

It is estimated that 98 million children work in agriculture, and many of them do not attend school, have little time to play and do not receive proper nutrition or care. Often this work is hazardous and exploitative. The causes of child labour are multi-faceted and include a lack of access to education, discrimination, conflict, and natural disasters. Poverty, however, remains the key factor. When families are not able to earn a decent living and youth lack decent employment opportunities, ending child labour remains very difficult.

Montville Coffee remains committed to roasting only Certified Fairtrade Organic Coffee because of the guaranteed benefits to children of farmers who work with Fairtrade Cooperatives. 

 

How Fairtrade Addresses child labour

Fairtrade is committed to fighting the root causes of child labour and preventing abuse and exploitation of children. They have chosen to work in products and regions with known risk of child labour because this is where their work is most needed.

Fairtrade prohibits child labour as defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) minimum age and the worst forms of child labour conventions. 

 

Specific criteria in the Fairtrade Standards include:

 

  • Children below the age of 15 are not to be employed by Fairtrade organisations.
  • Children below the age of 18 cannot undertake work that jeopardises their schooling or their development.
  • Children are only allowed to help on family farms under strict conditions. The work must be age-appropriate and be done outside of school hours, or during holidays.
  • In regions with a high likelihood of child labour, small producer organisations are encouraged to include a mitigation and elimination plan in their Fairtrade Development Plan.
  • If an organisation has identified child labour as a risk, the organisation must implement policy and procedures to prevent children from being employed.

  • Montville Coffee Visits Fairtrade Cooperative Communities in Papua New Guinea

    Resources

    Article: Fighting Injustice to build up Children’s Futures - How Fairtrade is tackling child labour

    Article: Child Labour

    Article: Addressing Global Issues