Taking Child Labour out of Supply Chains

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The International Labour Organization (ILO), supported by the Delegation of the European Union to Thailand and in collaboration with NIST, marked the 2016 World Day against Child Labour with a live talk, calling on young people to be aware of child labour in global supply chains.

The live talk on “Ending Child Labour and Unacceptable Forms of Work in Global Supply Chains by Ambassador Jesús Miguel Sanz, Head of the European Union Delegation to Thailand” was held here at NIST on 9 June, ahead of the World Day against Child Labour (12 June).

“We need to know, and we are entitled to know, what we consume, what we buy, what we eat, what we wear. Awareness. Be aware is the key word,” said Ambassador Sanz at the event, streamed live to online audiences.

With 168 million children still in work, the awareness-raising campaign engaged young people as responsible consumers in line with this year’s World Day against Child Labour’s focus on children in supply chains.

“It (the awareness) might end up changing a consumption pattern, favouring certain brands and rejecting others. And hopefully increasing the level of compassion that we have towards those in need,” said Ambassador Sanz.

According to the ILO’s latest figures for child labour, the ILO Global Estimates on Child Labour 2000-2012, Asia and the Pacific remains the region with the largest number of child labourers – about 78 million, which is just under 10 per cent of the child population aged 5-17 years, or 1 in 10 children.

“You have won the lottery. Your parents put you in a school like this. A lot of children around the world did not win the lottery and they are subjected to child labour. So, it’s a very real issue, a very relevant issue,” said James MacDonald, Head of NIST International School Thailand, in the opening remarks.

More than one hundred students from NIST and Mechai Bamboo School attended the live talk, followed by a Q&A session, where students asked: “Is it practically possible to avoid products that are made by child labour?

Simrin Singh, the ILO Senior Child Labour Specialist answered: “What you can do is to be aware. Awareness goes so far in bringing about the change you need to bring, on changing the situation, [diminishing] the need for child labour”.

Following the event, youth were called upon to raise awareness about the issue and share their ideas for combatting child labour through participation in the ILO project’s vox pop campaign – #youthrespond.

“You can be the first generation where the issue of child labour around the world can disappear. Can this be true? Can you be a factor to that?” Maurizio Bussi, Director of the ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao People’s Democratic Republic, challenged the audience.