Fairtrade Fights Child Labor

Fairtrade collaborates with children, youth and community members to support agricultural communities in advancing child rights and safety. 

Child labor is common in agriculture all over the world, driven by poverty. 

The US Department of Labor estimates that 71% of the 218 million children engaged in worst forms of child labor work in agriculture.

Many of these children and youth are not able to attend school, play, or receive proper nutrition and care. Over half work under dangerous or harmful conditions, such as hazardous environments, slavery and trafficking, or forced labor. Many of these situations are hidden, and therefore difficult to track – meaning that the number of child laborers could be much higher.

Because child labor is still a pervasive, universal problem, finding a solution demands a collaborative effort from all stakeholders, including farmers, workers and the children themselves.

Fairtrade's Approach to Child Labor

That’s why Fairtrade uses a child-inclusive approach that includes children and youth of producer communities. They become change agents that contribute to monitoring, managing and tackling child labor – becoming empowered to take control over their own lives.

Click to read more about Fairtrade’s child-inclusive approach to tackling child labor all over the world.

When companies use Fairtrade ingredients, small-scale farmers are better able to achieve dignified livelihoods that don’t force them to resort to exploitative child labor.

Fairtrade standards prohibit child labor, but no person or product certification system can provide a 100% guarantee that a product is free of child labor. Fairtrade chooses to work in products (like cotton and cocoa) and countries with high risk of child labor because that is where children and youth need us most.

What Fairtrade can guarantee is that if we find violations of our child labor requirements, we act to protect the impacted child. By collaborating with national child labor protection bodies, we work to ensure immediate remediation and long-term wellbeing for the child. Then, we work alongside the producer organization to fix existing problems and ensure that they do not happen again. If they are not able to put in place adequate protections and systems to address the problem, the producer organization will be suspended or decertified.

Eliminating child labor is a long-term collaborative effort. Learn more about the progress Fairtrade has made in places like Belize.

Click here for Fairtrade’s full Child Labor & Forced Labor Guidelines