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Child labour: Calls for a radical plan that will hold companies accountable

The #G7 Labour Ministers met in Wolfsburg, Germany, and child labour was on the agenda. Picture: billy cedeno/Pixabay

The #G7 Labour Ministers met in Wolfsburg, Germany, and child labour was on the agenda. Picture: billy cedeno/Pixabay

Published May 28, 2022

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The International Labour Organisation Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour took place in Durban earlier this month.

Journalist and human rights activist Fernando Morales-de la Cruz says that labour authorities continue to downplay the number of children who are part of the global labour force.

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The #G7 Labour Ministers met in Wolfsburg, Germany, on Tuesday, and child labour was on the agenda. Sadly, 73 years after the Universal Declaration Human Rights, all #G7 nations profit from exploitation of tens of millions of children, said Morales-de la Cruz.

The question is: How many tens of million of children are exploited as cheap #ChildLabour by/for corporations and investors “committed to improving the state of the world”?

Morales-de la Cruz said that he was working on the elimination of child labour in the supply chains of all corporations and all developed nations.

“Tens of millions of children are exploited as cheap labourers, to reduce costs and increase profits by multinational corporations. This has to stop now! On Sunday, May 22, I took a train in Kehl, Germany, to travel to Davos through Zurich.

“I am probably the poorest man ever to go to Davos, to make such a serious demand to more than 2 000 of the richest and most powerful men and women in the world. My mission is difficult but it’s not impossible, because their business models, which exploit tens of millions of the world’s poorest children, are not only cruel but also illegal. As you can imagine, I need all the help I can get,” writes Morales-de la Cruz of his experience.

He said neither the corporations nor the governments have real plans to eliminate child labour “I work in all G7 capitals, in Brussels, in Norway and in Switzerland – to demand governments and corporations respect the laws of their own countries, and to stop exploiting poor and defenceless children to reduce costs and increase profits,” said Morales-de la Cruz.

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He said that most people ignore the fact that the EU is the largest financial beneficiary of child labour, in the rural communities that produce coffee, cocoa, and many other products.

“Norway claims to respect human rights, but the Norwegian Pension Fund, Norges Bank Investment Management, the largest investor in the world, with more than $1.4 trillion (about R22.60 trillion) in assets assets under management, profits from the exploitation of tens of millions of children, by investing in hundreds of corporations that exploit children to reduce costs and increase profits. This is absolutely illegal and also extremely cruel,” said Morales-de la Cruz. Furthermore, he said that Switzerland claimed to be an exemplary democracy, but it has more children working in its supply chains of coffee, tea and cocoa than the number of children studying in all Swiss schools. There are about 75 million children working around the world who should be in school – and some of them work for the companies represented at the World Economic Forum.

“I am in Davos to demand that the business and political elites here respect the right of all girls and boys to education, and implement zero child labour programmes,” said Morales-de la Cruz.

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