Published On: Sat, Jul 6th, 2019

How Buying Fair Trade Products Can Help Stop Child Labour

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It is estimated that one in seven children around the world work as a child labourer. These children receive very little education, if any at all, and will spend the rest of their lives working in low-paying, sometimes highly dangerous, jobs.

Fair trade organisations are working to help eradicate unfair child labour, and to give these children the chance to be educated, learn new skills, and have the opportunity to break free from the restrictions of poverty.

The Implications of Child Labour

The main cause of child labour is poverty. In developing countries, children from poor families are sent out to work to help support the family. By sending their children into the work force, they are preventing them from receiving an education, and in some cases endangering their lives. The children work long, labour intensive hours, and therefore miss out on the freedom of childhood.

Because child labourers never receive the opportunity to learn or gain new skills, they will remain in low-paying jobs throughout their lives. When they have families of their own, they too will have to send their children out to work. This cycle continues from generation to generation, with these families unable to work themselves out of poverty.

The work of child labourers is often dangerous. According to statistics on the One World website, 115 million children are involved in work which is considered hazardous to their safety or health. A further 100 million child labourers are working in environments which are not considered hazardous, but still require the completion of tasks that involve substantial work.

How Fair Trade Organisations are Helping Prevent Child Labour

The World Fair Trade Organisation has ten standards of fair trade which fair trade organisations must adhere to. This includes a standard on child labour and forced labour.

This states that all fair trade organisations must adhere to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and must also abide by national and local laws on child employment. It further states that any child involvement must not affect the child’s well-being, education, security, or need for play.

Fair Trade, Child Labour

One of the worst industries for unfair trade is agriculture, particularly among growers of ingredients for tea, coffee, and chocolate. This industry is also where 60% of global child labour occurs, according to a One World statistic.

Buying food products which are made from ingredients sourced through fair trade organisations can help prevent child labour in this industry. Buying fair trade ensures the producer is paid a fair price for their goods, eliminating the need to send their children into the workforce. Being paid a fair price also means they can afford to send their children to school.

The world is making progress towards the eradication of child labour. The International Labour Organisation has a goal in place to see the worst forms of child labour stopped by 2016. We can help speed up this process by buying goods which have come from a source that does not approve of child labour. Fair trade organisations are bound by their principles to sell only products which have been produced without impacting the lives of children.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade. He can be contacted at

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