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Conflict and Economic Downturn Cause Global Increase in Reported Child Labor Violations- 40% of Countries now rated ‘extreme risk’ by Maplecroft

Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Philippines expose companies to high levels of supply chain risk

An annual study by risk analysis firm Maplecroft has revealed that 76 countries now pose ‘extreme’ child labour complicity risks for companies operating worldwide, due to worsening global security and the economic downturn. This constitutes an increase of more than 10% from last year’s total of 68 ‘extreme risk’ countries.

The Child Labour Index 2012 evaluates the frequency and severity of reported child labour incidents in 197 countries. Worryingly, nearly 40% of all countries have been classified as ‘extreme risk’ in the index, with conflict torn and authoritarian states topping the ranking. Myanmar, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan are ranked joint first, while DR Congo (5), Zimbabwe (6), Afghanistan (7), Burundi (8), Pakistan (9) and Ethiopia (10) round off the worst performers.

The Child Labour Index has been developed by Maplecroft to evaluate the extent of country-level child labour practices and the performance of governments in preventing child labour and ensuring the accountability of perpetrators. By doing so, the index enables companies to identify risks of children being employed within their supply chains in violation of the standards on minimum age of employment. The index also analyses the risk of the involvement of children in work, the conditions of which could have a negative impact on the health, safety and wellbeing of child labourers.

Maplecroft suggests that the global increase in the use of child labour is mainly caused by a deteriorating human security situation worldwide. This has resulted in increased numbers of internally displaced children and refugees who, together with children from minority communities, continue to be the groups at most risk of economic exploitation. Sub-Saharan Africa is identified as the region posing the most risk in this respect but most of the growth economies have their own unique conditions in respect of child labour and its remediation. Read more

More than 1 million Children ages 10 to 14 still Forced by Poverty to work in Brazil

By Associated Press

SAO PAULO — A newspaper says that despite the economic advances achieved by Brazil over the past few years, children from low-income families are still forced to work in Latin America’s biggest country.

The Folha de S.Paulo newspaper says Wednesday that its analysis of preliminary 2010 census figures compiled by Brazil’s government statistics agency shows that more than 1 million children between the ages of 10 and 14 were working last year.

0The newspaper says that many cases of child labor are difficult to eradicate because most of them involve work as domestic help or on small family farms in remote regions.

The statistics agency known as IBGE said it could not immediately confirm the newspaper’s report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.… Read the rest

Child Labor in Brazil, an Overview Article

Press Release: Council on Hemispheric Affairs
Made in Brazil: Confronting Child Labor

by COHA Research Associate Sonja Salzburger

“To force a child to work is to steal the future of that child” – Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva1

While Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has made significant efforts to reduce child labor, at the end of his tenure the issue still remains urgent. Forging a successful strategy to reduce child labor is not a simple task, since the reasons behind it are deeply embedded in the country’s economic and social structure.

In 2004, President Lula, who himself began to work at the age of eleven, declared fighting child labor a high priority.2 Although Brazil is often regarded as a positive example for other Latin American countries for its progress in the fight against child labor, more than four million Brazilian children between the ages of 5 and 17 are still working.3 Especially in the poorer northeastern part of the country, many children have no choice but to become integrated into the illegal job market.

In 1989, the Brazilian constitution enshrined certain fundamental rights for children. The constitution now states that the state has to approve every decision made by the federal government that affects children in order to demonstrate that it is beneficial to children’s interest.4 Moreover, the constitution states that no child or adolescent should be a victim of neglect, discrimination, exploitation, violence, cruelty, or repression.5 Nearly every district throughout the country has a council whose job it is to ensure that children’s rights are observed.… Read the rest

Brazil’s Bolsa Família How to get children out of jobs and into school The limits of Brazil’s much admired and emulated anti-poverty programme

ELDORADO, SÃO PAULO STATE

THREE generations of the Teixeira family live in three tiny rooms in Eldorado, one of the poorest favelas (slums) of Greater São Paulo, the largest city in the Americas. The matriarch of the family, Maria, has six children; her eldest daughter, Marina, has a toddler and a baby. Like many other households in the favela, the family has been plagued by domestic violence. But a few years ago, helped in part by Bolsa Família (family grant)—which pays mothers a small sum so long as their children stay in education and get medical check-ups—Maria took her children out of child labour and sent them to school.

The programme allows the children to miss about 15% of classes. But if a child gets caught missing more than that, payment is suspended for the whole family. The Teixeiras’ grant has been suspended and restarted several times as boy after boy skipped classes. And now the eldest, João, aged 16, is out earning a bit of money by cleaning cars or distributing leaflets, taking his younger brothers with him. Marina’s pregnancies have added to the pressure. She gets no money for her children because she lives with her mother and the family has reached Bolsa Família’s upper limit. After rallying for a while, the Teixeira family is sliding backwards, struggling more than it did a couple of years ago.

Their experience does not mean Bolsa Família has been a failure. On the contrary. By common consent the conditional cash-transfer programme (CCT) has been a stunning success and is wildly popular.… Read the rest