Child Labour In The Fast Fashion Industry

How many of us have ever considered that a child would have to work in a cotton field without protective clothing or in a garment factory day and night to help manufacture the clothes or textiles we use? Yes, it is the cold, hard truth but countless pieces of clothing are often made by someone who doesn’t get acknowledged.

Around 160 million children are employed worldwide, of whom an estimated 79 million are engaged in the kind of child labour the International Labour Organisation. According to Sofie Ovaa of Stop Child Labour, one of the reasons children are so vulnerable is because “there is no supervision or social control mechanisms, no unions that can help them to bargain for better working conditions. These are very low-skilled workers without a voice, so they are easy targets.”

In the cotton and garment industries, there is a definite correlation between child labour and low salaries for adult workers. Children are forced to labour in order to supplement their family's income. Children are simple to exploit, and because of their small stature and agility, also hiring them being inexpensive, they are frequently chosen over adults.

Throughout the whole lifecycle of clothing, the apparel sector violates the environmental rights of both workers and surrounding communities. Externalities harm the emotional and physical health of youngsters who live near landfills or factories, or worse, work in the fast fashion supply chain. This is an inexcusable violation of both children's and human rights, and we must intervene.

“End child labour in all its forms by 2025.”

This is objective 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Many countries and organizations are now taking steps to address this issue, pushing businesses to avoid using child labor in their operations. Sustainable fashion brand like ourselves have put our utmost in creating a safe environment and waging system to eliminate child labour and general unfairness in this industry.

There is no component of the fashion industry that adds to a young child's well-being or provides them with talents that they could not gain later in life. On the opposite end of the scale, where children labour long hours for little income, this can be seen as a barrier to a child ever transitioning into more sophisticated employment as an adult, as they will never have the opportunity to learn new abilities.

Sources:

  1. https://goodonyou.eco/child-labour/
  2. https://ec.europa.eu/international-partnerships/stories/are-clothes-you-are-wearing-free-child-labour_en
  3. https://shapecharity.org/2021/07/19/child-labour-in-the-fashion-industry/
  4. https://www.humanium.org/en/the-detrimental-effects-of-fast-fashion-on-childrens-rights/