Here we examine some of the industries where children around the world have been found working. The manufacture of rugs, clothing, bricks, sports equipment, and medical equipment are just a few of many industries that have been found to have child labor.

World Cup Profits Bypass Asian Soccer-Ball Stitchers

By James Rupert

June 9 (Bloomberg) — Asian workers who stitch nearly all the world’s soccer balls have seen little improvement in lives dominated by poverty, a report said days before the start of the World Cup, which promises sports gear companies a sales bonanza.

Thirteen years after companies such as Germany’s Adidas AG and Nike Inc. joined labor and development organizations to end the use of an estimated 7,000 children to stitch soccer balls, “child labor continues to exist” in the three main ball-making countries of Pakistan, China and India, according a June 7 report by the Washington-based International Labor Rights Forum.

In those countries and Thailand, the fourth major ball- producer, adult workers often are paid too little to support their families. Some children still stitch balls at home, while others have migrated to new work, the report said.

“The international campaign of the 1990s removed bonded child labor from our soccer-ball industry, but these children moved to auto workshops, brick kilns and the like,” said Arshed Makhdoom Sabir, president of Ours Pakistan, a non-profit, development organization in Sialkot, Pakistan.

Sialkot is the hub of an industry that made about 75 percent of the world’s hand-sewn soccer balls in the 1990s, and still makes most high-quality balls, the ILRF report said. Adidas is marketing Sialkot-made replicas of its high-tech Jabulani, a machine-molded ball made in China for use in World Cup matches.

Sub-Minimum Wages

The labor forum’s researchers surveyed 218 workers for Sialkot companies that export balls and other products to sports retailers including Nike and Adidas, the two largest in the world.… Read the rest

Bitter plight of the vanilla trade children

From The Sunday Times

March 14, 2010

Bitter plight of the vanilla trade children

Dan McDougall in the Vanilla Coast, Madagascar

 The pods used in ice cream made by some of the world’s best-known brands is produced with the help of children working on plantations in remote regions of Madagascar

NOARY’S fingers are stained a thin, luminous yellow by the sweetest spice of all. Close to exhaustion, his tiny body is pouring with tropical sweat.

At eight years old, he has been tending the vanilla orchids since before first light after walking to work, barefoot and in darkness, alongside his brother, Ando, just a year older.

Here, in the remote Sava region of Madagascar, tens of thousands of children are being forced into the trade in black vanilla pods that sell for up to £4 each in British supermarkets.

Such is the dire state of the small farms in northern Madagascar, the vanilla capital of the world, that children are increasingly involved in production of the pods, a key ingredient of some of the world’s most famous ice cream brands.

Vanilla from the island, off the southeast coast of Africa, flavours everything from Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s to Marks & Spencer desserts and numerous items on the shelves of supermarkets.

In an impoverished settlement near Sambava, the district capital on the Vanilla Coast of northeastern Madagascar, small growers sell their pods to the Société Vanille de Sambava, a consortium that supplies big exporters through auctions held twice a year.

“We work for six to seven hours a day from dawn,” Noary said at his tiny family plantation in Anjombalava, 12 miles to the south of the city.… Read the rest

Child Labor Horrors in Fashion Industry: “Hide the Shame” is the New Strategy (2007 Press Release)

Washington, DC, November 8, 2007 — With news last Friday that an additional 76 child slaves were rescued from Delhi’s embroidery dens, the Child Labor Coalition (CLC) has called for immediate and responsible action by brands and retailers to end child labor and trafficking of children, as well as forced labor, in their supply chain and sourcing. The Global March Against Child Labor (GMACL), for which the CLC serves as its North American coordinator, estimates that as many as 5,000-7,000 embroidery units may be operating in Delhi, with each unit employing between 25 and 30 children. Many of these children are victims of trafficking and bonded labor, a form of slavery.

Gap Inc. acknowledged on October 29, that one of its suppliers was using child slave labor. Children as young as 10 said they worked 16 hours a day for no pay, according to the British Observer newspaper’s investigation. The retailer issued a public statement and destroyed the products, which would have otherwise ended up on shelves at GapKids.

While Gap owned up to the problem, committed to correct it, and vowed to bring its suppliers into full compliance with its standards, the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation (ITGLWF) reports that a cover-up is being attempted by some other companies doing business in India. In essence, ITGLWF is hearing from some suppliers that they are being pressured to eliminate any paper trail between retailers/brands and Indian subcontractors, who may or may not be using child labor.

“If this is occurring, and we obtain brand or retailer names, consumers will hear about it,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League and Co-Chair of the CLC.

Read the rest