Osnabrück/ Siegburg, 6 June 2014: Forced labour, similar to slavery, of adults and children is a very lucrative and profitable business generating about 150 billion US in profits annually. According to international estimates, worldwide approximately 21 million people are victims of forced labour, including 5.5 million children. Most of the people affected by forced labour live in India, however, proportionally most forced labourers live in Mauritania, Haiti, Nepal, India and Pakistan. The international charity ‘terra des hommes’ and the SÜDWIND Institute have gathered the current data, regional hotspots and stories of victims, in recognition of the World Day against child labour on the 12th of June.
Poverty, discrimination and lack of skills are the breeding ground for the forced labour of both children and adults. The impact of migration and cross border migration on the forced labour of children and adolescents is considerable. “The most effective prevention against the exploitation of millions of children exists in social protection of families against poverty and disease and in educational opportunities,” said Danuta Sacher, CEO of terre des hommes. Examples from Brazil and Cambodia show that when social security measures are introduced which improve or protect the lives of the poor, child labour is significantly reduced. As a first step it is of course important to implement international conventions and national legislation to protect the rights of children from exploitation. In addition it is necessary for the affected countries to enforce the existing laws against child labour. According to Danuta Sacher, ‘ The federal government can do far more in relation to development cooperation to improve social security systems in poor countries. Federal, State and Local government as the largest purchasers in Germany should take into account the entire value chain of its contractors and ensure that no forced labour has been used at any point. In order to improve accountability we ask that the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights be taken into domestic law, to enable the pursuit of legal violations.’
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