Does it really help to sign a petition? The answer is: yes! Based on four achievements, we show you that your vote can make a difference in the fight against child exploitation.
We asked for your attention to the abuses in the mica mines in India, where (sometimes very young) children have to work under awful conditions. Partially thanks to your support, the "Duty of Care Child Labor Act" was settled. This law urges companies to tackle child labor in their supply chains.
Moreover, the increased social pressure also resulted in the Responsible Mica Initiative (RMI): a global coalition of organizations committed to a fair, responsible, and sustainable mica supply chain in India, aiming to end child labor by 2022. Daimler joined in September 2020, making it the first car manufacturer to commit to eliminating child labor in mica mining.
In 2020, we brought a petition to life, because we saw that the vulnerable children are in danger of disappearing from our sight due to the COVID crisis. Together with 15,838 petition signers, we called on the EU to take responsibility and comply with the UN Children's Convention. This resulted in media attention and parliamentary questions. Minister Kaag of International Trade and Development Cooperation acknowledged the problem and endorsed our findings. She has indicated that she will raise this during a meeting in Brussels. We will continue to monitor this process and will soon be talking to Minister Kaag about the progress.
Our petition against sexual exploitation of children contributed to social pressure and gave extra weight to a motion submitted in the House of Representatives.
This resulted in a new sexual offenses bill, which includes paid sex with children, under the age of 16, as an aggravating offense. Not only are we happy with the increased penalties, but also that this crime can now be more accurately registered. This is important, because the visibility of sexual exploitation has been declining for years, especially among girls, in which only 2-3 percent is reported to agencies.
Thanks to of all the signatures for the mica-petition, along with an accompanying report, and campaign, the European Parliament passed a crucial resolution in 2020 to tackle child labor in Madagascar's mines. This resolution to tackle child labor resulted in child exploitation now being at the top of the parliament's agenda. Not just in the mines of Madagascar, but in all sectors and around the world.
Both the European Commission and the Member States will monitor the mica supply chains to prevent products contaminated with child labor from entering the European Union. The European Commission will also investigate whether mica is a conflict mineral: a mineral whose extraction is associated with military conflict and/or human rights violations.
These are just a few examples of the results that have been achieved because of (online) petitions. However, it is not only the signatures that lead to the result, which is why petitions are part of our broader (lobby and campaign) work. Pentitions give our lobbyists extra ammunition, and help to show that we are not alone in our beliefs, but that our opinion is widely supported by a large group of people.