Panafrican News Agency

'Child labour and human trafficking remain concern for global supply chains '

Geneva, Switzerland (PANA) - In the first-ever report of its kind, new data from the UN and partners indicates that a significant share of child labour and human trafficking in global supply chains occurs on the lower-tier production level, namely, activities such as raw material extraction and agriculture.  

The  study, published on Tuesday, estimates that most child labour linked to global supply chain markets occurs in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (26 per cent), with Latin America and the Caribbean not far behind (22 per cent), followed by Central and South Asia (12 per cent), Sub-Saharan Africa (12 per cent) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (9 per cent).   

Director-General of the Director-General of the International  Labour Organisation (ILO),  Guy Ryder, one of the report authors, said the figures “show the urgent need for effective action to tackle the violations of core labour rights” occurring in this sector.   

The report, "Ending child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains," provides the first ever estimates of child labour and human trafficking in global supply chains, a UN statement said.

“The goods and services we buy are composed of inputs from many countries around the world and are processed, assembled, packaged, transported and consumed across borders and markets,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.

The statement said the report outlines several key areas in which governments and businesses can do more.

It underscores the critical role of States in addressing gaps in statutory legislation, enforcement, and access to justice (which creates space for non-compliance) and in establishing a framework for responsible business conduct.

It also examines how Governments can lead by example by integrating due diligence considerations into their own activities as procurers of goods and services, owners of enterprises and providers of credit and loans.

Speaking at the Paris Peace Forum, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: “These findings, based on an OECD methodology that’s been applied in various economic and environmental contexts, underscore the need for governments to scale up and strengthen efforts to ensure that businesses respect human rights in their operations and across supply chains. Creating an enabling environment for RBC due diligence must be a key action for governments.”

The statement said the report also outlines a broader preventive approach focused on root causes, including child and family deprivation, particularly in the upstream and outsourced segments of global supply chains operating in the informal economy, where risk is greatest.

“These results make clear that efforts against human trafficking in global supply chains will be inadequate if they do not extend beyond immediate suppliers to include actors upstream engaged in activities such as raw material extraction and agriculture, and serving as inputs to other industries,” said International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Director General António Vitorino.

For business, the report underscores the need for a comprehensive, whole-of-supply-chain approach to due diligence, involving the assessment, prevention and mitigation of negative human rights impacts, as well as legitimate channels for remediation in cases in which business has caused or contributed to adverse impacts.

The estimates were generated by combining data on the estimated total number of children in child labour with data on trade flows and value chains within countries and across borders. The same exercise was carried out for human trafficking.

“Child labour is a serious violation of child rights that has lifelong negative consequences for children’s physical, mental and social development. This report shows that multiple pressures, including poverty, violence and discrimination, increase a child’s vulnerability to child labour. With our partners we are therefore calling for holistic approach that tackles the root causes of child labour, provides access to quality education and strengthens child protection systems.” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

The statement said the report was compiled in response to a call by the Group of Twenty (G20) Labour and Employment Ministers to assess violations of core labour rights in global supply chains.

It offers a unique interagency perspective on the causes of these human rights violations and on the priorities for governments, businesses and social partners in addressing them.

The report was produced by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF.

-0- PANA MA 13Nov2019