About Fair Trade

Six Principles of Fair TradeBack

No Forced Labour

Another Fairtrade principle is to ensure that labourers provide service at their own will. Any form of exploitation and abuse are utterly unacceptable. This would include the use of child labour which rips the children population off their chance to receive education that is vital to their personal development and even their entire community’s future.

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Despite numerous commitments made to end child labour, 152 million children are still involved in child labour, with 70 percent working in agriculture.  However, progress is also made.  The international community has pledged to eliminate child labour by 2025.  The UK, Australia, France and the Netherlands have passed laws requiring companies to solve the problem of child labour in factories while other countries intend to stick to this pattern.


The causes of child labour are multi-faceted, but the key factor is poverty.  As long as families are not able to afford their living from their harvest and youth lack decent employment opportunities, the sustainable development goals will remain difficult to achieve.

Fairtrade strives to enable farmers and workers to earn a decent living.  Our standards have always strictly prohibited child labor and forced labour.  However, we realized that standards and auditing alone would not solve this deeply rooted problem.  The following are the four main reasons why the problem has not been resolved:


  1. Ending child labour on farms is not the end of story

The theme for 2019 World Day against Child Labour is “Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams”.  This is not only a slogan, but we also need to put it into action. In a workshop in the Philippines, the daughter of a sugar cane farmer shared that “gender-based violence is everywhere in my community”.  Children in and around Fairtrade farming communities have also experienced abuse in their homes, villages and schools.  To tackle child labour, we should address the causes behind abuse and violence against children and adolescents.


  1. Young people and their communities must be at the heart of any solution


In our youth inclusive approach, kids and youth will first figure out risks to their wellbeing, map whether they feel safe or unsafe and together with adults from the community, design preventive projects to enhance children’s wellbeing and development. Fairtrade’s youth inclusive approach has made community members more open to sharing their experience instead of attempting to conceal kids’ work and other infringement cases. Producer associations in more than ten countries have launched a pilot plan, drawing in local community members, schools and district level governments to address child labour, forced labour and gender discrimination issues.


  1. We must work with the government to ensure children’s long-term safety


If child labour is discovered on Fairtrade farms or plants, protecting the children and vulnerable individuals affected is our first priority. Extreme cases are reported confidentially to governments for follow up.  However, our experience has shown that even if the children are removed from the place of work, they aren’t always safe. They may go back to similar places or find unlawful jobs to earn money for survival. Children from single-parent family often take on multiple domestic chores, or take care of siblings or grandparents.  “I was working to earn money so I could support myself. My parents cannot afford to buy me books or shoes. Now I am still working, caring for the chickens and goats at home but making no money and cannot go to school,” said a 16-year-old boy.

Fairtrade is approaching the ILO, governments, and supply chain actors to support youth agricultural innovation projects for adolescents aged 16 to 18 years old to quit hazardous labour. Such projects would allow us to choose the most suitable income generation projects for them.


  1. Everyone in the supply chain needs to be involved


Other than collaborating with government and NGOs, Fairtrade also connects companies and producers, to mitigate child labour by investing directly in the communities from which they purchase Fairtrade commodities. We would all be able to play a part here; we have the power to make a change through our purchasing choices. Increasing the demand for sustainable and ethical products will push companies to improve and adopt Fairtrade products.

“Children and young people, no matter where they are, dream of a life free from violence and abuse. This dream is meant to be a basic human right. Let’s not wait another century, or even another decade, to make it a reality.”




Source >> One hundred years on – will we finally bring an end to child labour?