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Child labor plagues supply chains

Child labor is still prevalent in global supply chains. This is true of manufacturing hubs like Bangladesh, China, Cambodia and Vietnam. So says research consultancy Child Labor Index, which first began compiling comparable data in 2016.

Nearly f 27 out of 198 countries—accounting for more than 10 per cent of the world’s population—were found by the index to pose an extreme risk, with North Korea, Somalia and South Sudan the top three worst offenders. Ethiopia, Bangladesh Turkey and Vietnam reveal no change in their high risk of children being exploited or forced to work out of necessity. Venezuela saw the highest risk in child labor risk. However, 52 countries registered significant improvements between 2017 and 2019. Those include Liberia, Myanmar and Madagascar.

Child labor is defined as employment that limits or damages the physical, mental, moral, social or psychological development of children. Assuming the minimum age for work is 15, there are roughly 150 million child laborers around the world, particularly on farms in Africa and Asia. The economic momentum of many countries is yet to trickle down to the poorest in society and any meaningful headway on labor rights issues, including child labor, remains elusive.