The Obama administration has tried to stop kids under age 16 from working in tobacco fields, but extraordinary pressure from tobacco state legislators, tobacco companies and lobbyists succeeded in keeping regulation from seeing the light of day.
It's mildly ironic that my son is too young to watch Indiana Jones, but can comprehend actual footage of child mining without any difficulty. Regardless of age restrictions, he is learning that life's true adventures are non-fiction.
Supply chains for products are hard to keep track of, and if companies aren't investing time, money, and energy in ensuring a clean supply chain, our consumerism continues to support labor exploitation.
Which would you purchase? A white shirt made in Indonesia selling for $14.99 with a "designer label" or a white shirt made in Indonesia for $25 which has a fair trade designation? Why do you think there is such a discrepancy?
Child labour is a global problem that needs a response from all sides. This means measures to help reduce poverty, improve education, enforce laws, improve employment prospects for adults and ensure there are no benefits in employing children under working age.
As we continue to sensitize families about the long-term damage that child labor holds for their children, we as consumers can do more to insist on transparency and reform among those who are hiring these children in the first place.
If U.S. consumers can get riled up enough about Abercrombie & Fitch's lack of plus sizes to create a public relations crisis, why doesn't the death of over a thousand Bangladeshi mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons create a similar public outcry?
215 million. That's the number of children currently working, according to the International Labor Organization, as domestic workers, street vendors, beggars, washers, in both the semi-formal and informal sectors of the economy.
Laws are not enough to end child labor -- we see that every time a new factory is found filled with children who should be in school. But making progress against child labor must begin with banning it.