World Day against Child Labour

Ending child labour in supply chains is increasingly important in economic integration

“End child labour in supply chains – It’s everyone’s business!” is the focus of this year’s World Day against Child Labour (12 June).

Press release | 14 June 2016
HANOI – The risk that child labour may be present in supply chains, from agriculture to manufacturing, services to construction, should be well addressed for the future of the young generations and the entire society as Viet Nam is set for deeper economic integration.

“End child labour in supply chains – It’s everyone’s business!” is the focus of this year’s World Day against Child Labour (12 June). A workshop organized this morning by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) to celebrate the event affirmed that child labour has no place in well-functioning and well-regulated markets, in any part of supply chains, whether production or distribution, of a product.

“With 1.75 million engaged in child labour in Viet Nam, these supply chains producing goods and services for millions every day could run the risk of having child labour,” said ILO Viet Nam Director Chang-Hee Lee who warned that child labour “can be difficult to detect”.

Child labour occurs predominantly in the rural and informal economy, beyond the reach of labour inspectors and in areas where trade unions and employers' organizations are often weak or absent.

“It’s the same for child labour in supply chains as the work may be done in small workshops or households and often goes undetected by firms at the top of the chains,” said the ILO Viet Nam Director.

He added that in household production, children are often highly vulnerable because parents’ incomes are insufficient or because informal family enterprises cannot afford to hire adult workers to replace the unpaid work of their children.

According to MoLISA vice Minister Doan Mau Diep, Viet Nam already has a law and policy system in place to realize children’s rights, particularly to prevent and minimize child labour, as well as has implemented many relevant programmes and intervention models. The Prime Minister on 7 June approved the National Programme of Action (NPA) on Prevention and Elimination of Child Labour in the 2016-20 period, showing the determination of the Party and State to strive for a better future for the children.

However, he said: “Preventing, minimizing and ending child labour in Viet Nam and other countries in the world face challenges which first include the awareness of the children themselves, their families, community and employers.”

As Viet Nam is now deepening its global integration through free trade deals including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement, the implementation of international commitments on labour, including child labour in supply chains will receive more attention.

“Enterprises need to be vigilant to ensure that their supply chains are free from child labour or risk having their reputations ruined and their business seriously damaged,” said the ILO Viet Nam Director.

According to the ILO, the fight against child labour requires coherent policy packages to back child labour legislation – quality education, social protection and decent jobs for parents.

Vice Minister Diep said that law enforcement and the proactive participation of all stakeholders in the society, families, community, State agencies, enterprises, trade unions and social organizations play an important role.

“The active, positive and responsible participation of all social partners will help laws and policies against child labour be better enforced, children’s rights be realized in practice, and children’s future and the future of the country’s workforce be ensured,” he said. “We are the ones who decide the speed and level of reducing child labour in supply chains. We are the ones who decide our children’s future.”

New national programme

On this occasion, the ILO Viet Nam Director welcomed the Government’s recent approval of the NPA on Prevention and Elimination of Child Labour in the 2016-20 period. The NPA continues to offer a framework to improve awareness and capacity of the authorities, relevant organizations, employers, the community, parents and the children themselves on child labour.

The NPA, which was developed with ILO support, is also expected to provide timely assistance and intervention to all identified child labour cases.

Viet Nam has already ratified ILO relevant conventions – the Minimum Age Convention (No. 138) and Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No. 182).

The new Sustainable Development Goals endorsed by Viet Nam also has target 8.7 aiming at ending child labour in all its forms by 2025.