Although child labour is on a worldwide declin, it remains a big problem: according to ILO and Unicef, there are still 168 million children involved in child labour today where almost half of them are working in hazardous conditions.
Companies in all industries run the risk that there is child labour in their supply chain. But what industries have the highest risk of child labour in their supply chain?
Raw materials in agriculture
In a report from the International Labour Organisation we see that more than 70% of the children in child labour are working in agriculture. Especially in Africa, children are working in agriculture such as farming, herding, fishing and forestry. Companies who use raw materials that are predominantly harvested in Africa, such as cotton, coffee and cacao run a significant risk of having child labour in their supply chain.
Another 12% of child labour takes place in the industrial sector but the actual numbers differs per region. For instance, the percentage of children working in the industrial sector is a lot higher in Asia and the Pacific. This industry is where children work in the most hazardous conditions. The most well-known examples are in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar where children are working in the textile industry, often with dangerous chemicals. Another example is the mining industry, where children are working in dangerous mines to delve tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold, also known as conflict minerals. These minerals end up in technological devices such as smartphones and laptops.
Technological solutions to reduce the risk of child labour
As said, child labour is in worldwide decline but there is still much to be done. The main problem for companies these days is that their supply chain is made up of hundreds of suppliers, who again have hundreds of suppliers of their own. When the supply chain is getting more complex, the risk of child labour is getting higher. Even if your company is 100% committed to eradicate child labour from your supply chain, it remains a difficult task. The first step you must take is to gain insight into your supply chain, where solutions such as the ChainPoint platform can help. If you want to learn more about the technological solutions that can reduce the risk of child labour in your supply chain, feel free to download our solution paper.