Ask your local stores about child labour
Looking for something different to do this weekend? Why not spend an afternoon touring the stores at your local mall asking about child labour?
It might sound weird/intimidating but all you have to do is go in the store, browse around for a bit and say you care about the issue of child labour and you’re curious to know how they ensure that their products aren’t made by children and that people are getting paid a living wage.
For instance, do they visit supplier factories? Do they get their suppliers independently audited? Do they have a child labour or modern slavery policy?
You’ll be surprised at the amount of sales people who have no idea about their store’s policy on child labour or can’t provide specifics about it.
It’s incredibly sad. But, it’s the world we live in.
Companies generally only act on these kinds of issues once they realize their customers care and it could hurt their business if they don’t do something about it.
So, unfortunately, it’s our job as consumers to ask the companies about their policies so they know we DO care.
On board? Cool.
What kinds of stores should you go to? Well, due to the global economy and global supply chains, MOST industries are at risk for involving child labour or modern slavery. These include clothing, footwear, gold, diamonds, sugar, cotton, coffee, rice, textiles, and electronics. So yeah, most stores in your mall would be selling something along these lines.
Remember to be polite and respectful when asking the store employees. They likely will not have an answer for you and that’s not their fault. Just simply ask them to pass along to their manager or buyer that a customer had these concerns.
If you want to learn more about modern slavery, the U.S. Bureau of International Labor Affairs created an app called Sweat & Toil: Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking Around the World. It allows you to browse goods produced with child labor or forced labor, review laws, find child labor data, check countries’ efforts to eliminate child labor, and see what governments can do to end the practice.
When shopping you can also look for or ask for the GoodWeave, Fairtrade, and Certified Organic labels.