Improving working conditions in your clothing supply chain

3: Child Labour

While progress has been made in some areas toward reducing child labour, it remains a widespread problem in the apparel industry. It is less common in the CMT stage of the supply chain, but is still disturbingly common in the production of yarns and fabric.

Few brands would deliberately choose to have children working on their products, but detecting child labour can be difficult.

The main arguments against child labour are obvious – children should be in school, and factory work can be especially hazardous for underage employees.  Child labour is artificially (and illegally) inexpensive.  If adults were doing the work – at a decent wage – there would be far less demand for children to be in factories.

If you do find child labour in your supply chain, it’s also important to remediate the situation in a way that does not hurt the child – best practice is to support the child with education and an income until they are old enough to work legally.

Consult our resources to learn more about how to detect, prevent and solve child labour issues.