Welcome to the Slavery Research Bulletin, the Freedom Fund’s monthly brief designed to bring you new & compelling research from the global anti-slavery movement.
Apparel and footwear companies ranked on labour practices
KnowTheChain has ranked 20 of the world’s largest apparel and footwear companies on their efforts to eradicate forced labour and human trafficking from their supply chains. Overall, luxury brands including Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren scored lower than high street apparel retailers such as H&M and Primark. The report calls for stronger enforcement to eliminate recruitment fees and more direct engagement with factory workers to address grievances early on.
Children working in hazardous conditions on palm plantations
Amnesty International spoke to 120 palm plantation workers in Indonesia. The research found that Unilever, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble are among nine household names whose supply chain are linked to labour abuses. Workers regularly work excessive hours to meet arbitrary production targets, and are expected to handle toxic chemicals such as paraquat without adequate training or protective gear. All nine brands said they were unaware of the abuses until contacted by Amnesty.
Nearly half the world’s workforce is engaged in the informal economy
A recent ILO report acknowledges the risk associated with domestic work, which is largely unregulated and yet accounts for 2% of global labour participation and 4% of female labour participation. Extending the scope of labour and social security legislation to cover domestic workers is a fundamental step towards protecting their rights.
By age 14, almost half of children living in Dhaka slums are in work
The Overseas Development Institute has surveyed adults and children in over 2,700 households in Dhaka slum settlements to assess the relationship between child labour and education. It found that 15% of children aged 6-14 are in work with an equivalent proportion neither in work nor school, and by age 14, 45% of children are in work.
Prevalence measures of child labour are higher with self-reporting
Using data from two sites in Tanzania, a paper in the International Labour Review investigates the likely measurement error in child labour statistics. When using child self-reports rather than proxy reports from household heads, the resulting prevalence figure increased by 35 – 65% and the bias affected 14 – 31% of the sample, depending on the indicator used.
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Photo credit: Pauline Aaron