Developed countries biggest users of child labour

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More than 300m children working around world, says Fernando

Child labour has increased in the supply chains of developed countries and blocs such as the European Union, the US, Canada, Japan, Norway and Switzerland, especially due to cruel and illegal business models of corporations, an expert said on the occasion of World Children’s Day.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, human rights activist, journalist, political consultant and social entrepreneur Fernando Morales-de la Cruz noted that it was the 74th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and said there are more than 300 million working children around the world despite children’s rights being considered within the scope of human rights.

Pointing out that child labour harms the physical, psychological or emotional development of children, Morales-de la Cruz said: “And so these 300 million children suffer a lot.”

He said the increase of child labour in the supply chains was due to an increase in the types and volumes of products produced by countries in the Global South, but especially due to cruel and illegal business models of corporations.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic also led to an increase in child labour.

“During the Covid-19 epidemic, we also saw a significant increase in poverty. Child work rises as poverty rises because child labour is the outcome of extreme poverty,” he added.

Morales-de la Cruz argued that developed economies and their companies are the biggest financial beneficiaries of child labour.

“We can talk about tens of millions of children working in the supply chains of the European Union and the United States, and the same goes for Norway and Switzerland. This is a very serious problem, because these countries are supposed to have a system based on the rule of law and respect for human rights. But when you look at their supply chains and their investments, they don’t respect the rights of the weakest children,” he said.

He noted that he had been asking German politicians at the highest level to do everything possible to stop this.

“The reality is that when you look at the products that Germany imports, we can start with coffee, tea and cocoa, we can start with cotton and fashion. We can also continue with cobalt for electric cars and batteries. There are many children working in these supply chains,” he said.

“Even the luxury brands and the gold and the diamonds in jewellery are tainted with child labour. The child labour problem is not only present in cheap products.”

Morales-de la Cruz stressed that corporations were paying the producers a fraction of the real cost of the products. He emphasised that countries in Asia like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh went through extreme poverty which affects hundreds of millions of people. “Asia is an important exporter of products to Europe and the US. So when we look at the products that these countries import. Anadolu Agency

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