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Child labor

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Child Labor Society Business and Management Instructors: Prof. Lalitha Sreenath & Prof. M. R. Sreenath Table of Contents Introduction 1 Definition 1 Constituents of Harmful Child Labor 1 Statistics 1 Child Labor (Prohibition And Regulation) Act, 1986 2 UNO and ILO Conventions 2 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990) 2 ILO Convention 138 (1973) 2 ILO Convention 182 (1999 2 Implications for the private sector 3 Product Differentiation 3 Development of Future Workforce 3 Reputational Risk 4 Misconceptions about Cost Savings 4 Addressing child labor issues in the workplace 5 Raising Awareness 5 Policy Development 6 Implementation 6 Monitoring 7 Forging Partnerships 7 How to respond when child labor is detected? 8 Managing Supply Chain Risks 9 Selecting Quality Supplier 9 Contractual Agreements 9 Subcontracting Safeguards 10 Labeling and Certification 10 Consolidating Production Process 11 Supplier Training and Incentives 12 Obeetee's Case Study 12 Challenges 13 Remedial Measures 13 Cultural Changes: 13 Policy and Process Changes: 14 Conclusion 14 References 15 Introduction Definition Any form of economic exploitation and any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. Constituents of Harmful Child Labor Harmful child labor constitutes any work: > which exposes to physical, psychological or sexual abuse > which is underground, underwater, at dangerous heights or in confined spaces > involving dangerous machinery and tools specially which involves handling them manually > in an unhealthy environment like near hazardous chemicals > under difficult environment like long working hours, lack of meals etc. Statistics > The International Labour Organization estimates there are ?218 million working children aged between five and 17 (2006) > 126 million are estimated to work in the worst forms of child labour -- one in every 12 of the world's five to 17 years olds (2006) ...read more.


This calls for active monitoring and enforcement. There are three kind of monitoring. They are: - > Internal Monitoring: Here the monitoring is conducted by the company staff. The companies will train and empower their staff to conduct inspections in the workplace. > External Monitoring: External auditing firms are used to monitor the workplace > Independent Monitoring: This is generally conducted by NGO's or other interest groups. This type of study gives more credibility and independence to the process as it is conducted by sources, which are not partial to the company. Forging Partnerships For addressing the issue of child labor, private companies do not have to navigate uncharted territories. There are already a large number of business and other organizations, which have been involved in this fight for a long time. Some of the greatest successes have come from partnerships with such organizations. Their hindsight can act as our foresight and they would already have processes, which we could also implement, or work together with. They would also have resources with them about how to most effectively address these problems in a given situation. How to respond when child labor is detected? The simplest response of sending the child away when child labor is detected many a times proves to be a very wrong response. The children working in harmful condition in many cases are the sole bread-earners in the family. This results in a real ethical dilemma for the employers who find out about child labor. Some of the best practices that are globally accepted involve: > Releasing the children from harmful work > Enrolling them in schools > Address the physical and mental health of children working under harmful conditions > Create conditions that remove the need for children to do harmful labor > Protect and educate children who work legitimately > Provide alternative income generation activities for he parents or other adult relatives of the children who are relieved from harmful work Children who are legally underage should be removed from work, but kept in payroll till a solution is arrived at. ...read more.


It made the monitoring and tracking all the more difficult. Remedial Measures In spite of the above challenges, Obeetee too up the task of eliminating child labor by taking various steps: Cultural Changes: Increasing awareness of the issue was the most important step in the whole process. Unless the suppliers were themselves convinced about the harmful effects and impact on their business, the problem would continue. Obeetee's manages went from one village to another to spread the message. They made the loom owners aware the impact of new policy and act on the business and what could be the consequences if the compliance was not met. Policy and Process Changes: Obeetee made lot of policy and process changes in this regards, such as: * Increasing the wages for the labors in the company and to the suppliers. This had a short-term impact on the profits, but led to higher profits in the long-term. Company gained lot of good will because of this change. * Blacklisting of suppliers using child labor * Creating depots around the company premises to facilitate labors to work closer to the factory. This also controlled the use of child labor. Increased Monitoring and Inspection * Monitoring and Inspection in the depots by employing inspectors on a periodic basis. * Creating a child labor cell for handling complaints. * Registering each carpet for public and independent inspections * Different Labeling and Certification programs Seeking external help * Working in partnership with NGOs and government agencies to take care of future needs of displaced children through welfare programs and education. Conclusion Child labor is a big issue especially in India and requires special attention. No child deserves bad life and each of us has a responsibility to ensure the same. It is the responsibility of managers of the companies to take pro-active steps to handle the problem. They were to take conscious decisions to not to employ child labor and create policies and process in the system, which can take care of the problem in a global way. This is the only way to grow themselves, their organizations and the country. ...read more.

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