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Not Made By Children

Not Made By Children – an initiative to end child labour in the garment-manufacturing supply chain in India

In the wake of widespread chid labour abuses in garment sweatshops producing for some known global apparel brands at the end of last decade, Global March Against Child Labour congregated various stakeholders for addressing the issue of child labour in the garment manufacturing sector in India, given the fact that several apparel brands source their product from India. 

Several brands, manufacturers, manufacturers’ organizations, trade unions, and child rights organizations assembled on a common plat form at the Multi Stakeholder Garment Forum on Child Labour to decipher sustainable ways of eliminating child labour from the garment supply chains spanning in the informal sector of Indian garment manufacturing sector. The Forum further funnelled down to a few likeminded stakeholders coalescing into a Multi Stake holder Garment Steer Group on Child Labour with the vision of the group entailing the stakeholders to work together for a hazardous child labour free garment supply chain in India by 2016. The mission of the steer group has been to provide strategic and technical guidance to facilitate coordination amongst the stakeholders to share knowledge, foster partnerships and build good practices between and within different stakeholders for elimination of child labour in the garment sector with the aim to institutionalise the Steer Group for long term sustainability. The Steer Group is facilitated by the Global March Against Child Labour and includes the International Labour Organization (ILO) in an advisory capacity. The steer group acknowledges the importance of a garment supply chain that is free of all forms of violations of fundamental rights to ensure decent work for all. Its policies and programmes are integrated to ensure coherent, meaningful, inclusive and sustainable outcomes.

Since its first meeting in May 2010, significant progress was made in the Steer Group in strengthening collaboration and communications between members leading to concrete outputs, such as training and awareness-raising workshops for garment sub-contractors in Okhla and Tirupur Clusters in early 2011. Global March sensitised over 175 garment subcontractors on the subject of child labour in these two clusters. To further strengthen and consolidate the collaborative process between the stakeholders, an International Consultation “Roadmap 2016 and the Garment Manufacturing Sector” was convened by Global March earlier in May 2011 at New Delhi to assess the progress made by the various stakeholders in their resolve to eliminate worst forms of child labour from the garment supply chains. The consultation further underscored the importance of increased coherence, collaboration, knowledge management, and convergence among various stakeholders coupled up with active participation of law enforcement agencies in appropriately addressing the issue of child labour that is endemic in lower ties of garment supply chains.

Global March’s intervention and campaign to eliminate child labour in the garment manufacturing supply chain was boosted through a grant by UKAid from the Department for International Decelopment’s (DFiD) Responsible and Accountable Garment Sector (RAGS) Challenge Fund.

‘Not Made by Children’ programme is aimed towards strengthening the efforts against child labour and trafficking for forced labour through improvement of inspection and monitoring processes in garment supply chains, providing comprehensive remediation of victims and promoting decent work for adults, through the five key objectives:

a.  Strengthening the “Multi-stakeholder Garment Steer Group on Child Labour”.
b. Sensitisation and capacity enhancement of the Labour Inspectorate’s to inspect and monitor violations of child labour in the garment supply chains.
c.  Generate awareness of core labour standards across supply chains through outreach initiatives and dialogue with workers and sub-contractors.
d. Remediation/withdrawal of child labourers from supply chains.
e. Development of a comprehensive toolkit based on the learnings for approaches for sustainable solutions to eliminate child labour, forced labour and promoting decent work.

Global March Against Child Labour has partnered with Developmental Initiatives for Social Causes (DISC) and Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA).

Developmental Initiatives for Social Causes (DISC) is a non-governmental organization that established the Garments Workers’ Union (GWU), which has 14,000 members (workers from the garment manufacturing sector in the formal as well as informal segment) working at about 300 factories/ subcontracting units. In India, GWU is affiliated to Indian National Trade Union Congress. On a global platform, GWU has executed various projects under the aegis of Ambekar Institute of Labour Studies (an Indian institute affiliated to International Textile, Garment, and Leather Workers Federation (ITGLWF)). The GWU was the first trade union among the garment workers and has been successful in generating awareness of labour rights and responsibilities.

For more information about Indian National Trade Union Congress, please log on to: www.intuc.net

Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) is a grassroots movement against child labour, child trafficking and child servitude. Founded in 1980, BBA has been actively rescuing and rehabilitating bonded child labourers in active collaboration with the law enforcement agencies and other institutions christened to promote and protect the rights of the child. Other interventions of Bachpan Bachao Andolan include organizing awareness-raising campaigns among the communities in the source areas of trafficking for forced labour. Since the early 1990s, BBA has been campaigning and advocating for ethical trading especially no-child labour in various sectors including apparel and garments. Beginning with the child labour free carpet campaign and first social labelling mechanism, the ‘Rugmark’ a visual label certifying a carpet as child labour free, BBA has come a long way in spearheading the movement to promote child labour free goods in the world, working among the carpet manufacturers, sporting goods industry, firecracker factories, mica mining, among others. BBA has ventured into garments sector with massive raids in the last five years rescuing and rehabilitating over 4,000 child labourers from garment sweatshops in India.’

For more information about Bachpan Bachao Andolan please log on to: www.bba.org.in

BBC London 94.9’s coverage on ethical clothing and responsible buying