Currently there is over 152 million child laborers.
Over 25 million forced laborers.
Over 73 million are hazardous laborers.
The International Labor Organization just released these statics in their annual child labor report.
As consumers it might be hard to determine if a child or forced laborer made our clothes or any other product. In a truly sustainable system you do not need to worry. However, the majority of the world has not shifted into a sustainable system. So it is important to know where to do your research. Thankfully, the US Department of Labor has done plenty of research for us. On their website you can find a list of goods produced by child laborers and/or forced laborers, a break down of the worst findings by region.
The most exciting news is, the department of labor has introduced a new app that features information on the supply chain, media sources and different laws, acts and agreements. The app is named Comply Chain and is available for both Android and Iphone.
The application was designed as a resource for companies looking to integrate social compliance into their business. The application breaks this down into an 8 step system.
The first step starts with working with stakeholders. The information is geared toward the value working with a stakeholder can add. There are also suggestions on how to collaborate.
The second step is an assessment of risk and impact. Under this step the app digs into what actually happens in the supply chain and how it impacts the world at large.
In the third step standards get devolved as code of conduct. Global agreements are addressed and there are a few case studies. There are many legal terms mentioned that can lead to further research.
Step 4 is about training or how to communicate with a team. The app even goes into working with trade unions and sourcing departments.
Step 5 teaches how to carry out an audit. There is even tips and tricks on how to interview children.
Step 6 naturally comes after step 5 by addressing what to do if a volition happens during an audit.
Step 7- Review all of the information from previous steps by verifying and evaluating.
Step 8- Public Reporting the how and why.
The Comply Chain and all of the research conducted by the Department of Labor and the International Labor Organization is just the first step to move in the direction of sustainability. They have only started to bring about awareness. Now it is up to us to do something with this awareness. How can we apply this knowledge when creating businesses structures and when we are purchasing goods?